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Charlottesville picks Illinois firm to lead superintendent search

An Illinois-based education firm will lead the search for Charlottesville City Schools’ new superintendent, the city School Board announced Tuesday.

The board signed a $24,500 contract with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates after reviewing five proposals in closed session.

“The School Board’s role is to support the schools, and the best way we can do that is to hire the right leader as superintendent,” board Chairwoman Lisa Larson-Torres said in a news release. “To help us with that process, we’ve hired HYA. The School Board and HYA are committed to listening to community voices to help us find the right match to assure the continued success of our schools.”

There are optional services in the contract that the board can use if needed, which would cost more.

Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins’ last day is May 31. Jim Henderson, a longtime city schools administrator who retired last year, will take over as acting superintendent June 1, the board decided in March.

Atkins has led the division for 15 years, and none of the current board members has experience conducting a superintendent search.

The search firm will be responsible for creating the application, recruiting and vetting candidates and helping to interview finalists and negotiate their contract, among other tasks, according to the request for proposals.

The board wants to appoint a superintendent no later than Sept. 23, according to the RFP, though that’s contingent on several factors, such as the number and quality of candidates. According to state code, a school board has 180 days to fill the vacancy, though it can request extensions.

Larson-Torres has said that community engagement will be an important part of the search process.

The School Board and HYA will work together to set up focus groups with school staff, parents, students, elected officials and community members to discuss what leadership qualities they want in the next superintendent, according to the release. Community members also can weigh in via an online survey.

Details about those focus groups will be announced in the coming weeks.


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