Dayton Public school board chooses to go with search firm to find superintendent candidates



The Dayton Public School Board of Education picked the Alma Advisory Group, a women-led search firm for administrators for K-12 schools and nonprofits, to find the district’s next superintendent.

Alma Advisory Group recently assisted Cincinnati Public Schools and Cleveland Metropolitan School District with finding superintendents. The cost to hire the firm was not released at the board’s Tuesday meeting.

Currently, Dayton Public is employing David Lawrence, the former business manager, as interim superintendent. He is being paid $160,000 per year.

Lawrence has said he is interested in being the permanent superintendent and applied previously in 2016, before former superintendent Rhonda Corr was hired.

While members of the teacher’s union, former teachers, bus drivers and other staff and community members have expressed support for Lawrence’s continued leadership, some school board members have said they believe they need to allow everyone qualified to have an equal chance to the superintendent seat.

As with last month, the same four board members – Chrisondra Goodwine, Joe Lacey, Gabriela Pickett and Jocelyn Rhynard – voted for moving forward with Alma Advisory Group.

The same three board members who voted against using a search firm last month – Will Smith, Dion Sampson and Karen Wick-Gagnet – voted again not to move forward with a search firm.

There was little discussion at the board meeting on Tuesday about the merits of moving forward or not with a search firm. When Goodwine brought it up at Tuesday’s meeting, she had to ask multiple times before anyone began speaking.

“Last week, we saw two search firms, the superintendent search firms,” she said. “And I don’t believe – are we going to make a decision? Do you guys want to talk about it?”

Pickett nominated Alma and Rhynard seconded.

“I don’t know how other board members feel, but I feel confident in knowing who I think we should go forward with,” Rhynard said.

Goodwine last month said the school board doesn’t have the bandwidth to pick a candidate for superintendent themselves.

Wick-Gagnet and Smith objected previously because they felt a national search firm would not find the best candidate and wanted to get input from the community.

Smith also said he felt the district doesn’t need to pay thousands of dollars to an outside search firm to find the best candidate.

Goodwine said there was not yet a timeline on the superintendent search.

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