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School Board wants community's help picking new superintendent

The Medford School Board is inviting the community to participate in its search for a district superintendent to replace Phil Long, who retires June 30.

The board has enlisted the help of Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based executive search firm, and is asking the public to complete an online survey and to attend one or both public forums scheduled for later this month.

The survey, developed by Ray and Associates, lists 33 characteristics and asks people to choose 10 that they feel are essential in the district's next superintendent. People can write additional characteristics or note their concerns in an optional comment box at the end.

The online survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and will be available through 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at www.surveymonkey.com/s/6TSNJCM or in Spanish at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y3THYK3.

"My goal is to have at least 1,500 to 2,000 people fill this out," said board Chairman Jeff Thomas.

Ray and Associates has already met with board members and is arranging meetings with stakeholders, including teacher, business and nonprofit groups, later this month.

The public forums will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, in the North Medford commons, 1900 N. Keene Way Drive, and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, in the district board room at Central Medford High School, 815 S. Oakdale Ave.

Ray and Associates will use the data gathered from the survey, public forums and meetings with stakeholders to form a profile to screen prospective candidates.

"Once we get that profile built, then we are going out to more than 160 associates around the country and will start recruiting based on that profile," said Gary Ray, president of Ray and Associates.

The information also will be used to form interview questions.

"We are making sure this is a national search," Thomas said. "We are not just sending out an ad and hoping people reply to it."

Ray has been assisting districts in their superintendant searches for the last 38 years. His firm handles between 25 and 50 such searches each year. Thanks to the "technology era," Ray said, the firm is receiving more community input than ever before.

Interested candidates have until March 18 to apply. On April 1, the board will meet to form interview questions and will begin interviewing candidates, recommended by Ray and Associates, the following week.

"The public forums are important, but it's critical that everyone actually put something down on paper that we can compile and go from," Thomas said.

The online surveys are anonymous, but results and comments will be made available to the public.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.