The Supt. Selection Process

Utah State Board of Education Chairwoman Debra Roberts, District 15

Utah State Board of Education Chairwoman Debra Roberts, Dist. 15

How the Utah State Board of Education
Will Select the Next State Superintendent

On Friday, Sept. 7, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway announced he would retire at year’s end. We are sorry to see Superintendent Shumway leave, but understand his reasons and have reluctantly agreed to his request.

Because Members of the Utah State Board of Education believe this to be a key position – if not the key position – in the state public education system, we are anxious to have someone on board sooner rather than later in order to have the new superintendent receive some mentoring from Superintendent Shumway and to have the new person up to speed in the job when the Legislature begins to meet in late January. Utah’s students, teachers and taxpayers deserve no less.

The Utah State Board of Education, however, also believes it is important for the public to know how the new superintendent will be selected. The process this time will be nearly identical to the process used to hire the past two state superintendents, Patti Harrington and Larry Shumway.

The process is moving slightly faster than the previous two times to accommodate the Board’s wishes that the new superintendent be in place soon and we have decided not to pay for national advertising on the position since we believe it is of questionable value in the Internet age.

Three years ago, the Board spent more than $1,200 on advertising costs. We believe we can more effectively reach candidates through electronic means and at much less expense. We are sending electronic notice far and wide, both in Utah and nationally.
A seven-member committee of the Board met for the first time on Monday, Sept. 10 to begin laying out the process.

A notice of job vacancy was established and posted on the Utah State Office of Education website the next morning. A copy of the notice was also sent to the following entities:

All Utah school superintendents Utah Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee
All Utah charter school directors Utah PTA
All Utah school business administrators Utah Education Association
All local school board presidents Utah School Employees Association
All State Charter School Board members Utah Association of Elementary Principals
Utah Governor’s Office Utah Association of Secondary Principals
Utah Legislature Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Utah System of Higher Education Prosperity 2020
Utah College of Applied Technology Salt Lake Chamber
Utah college and university presidents Council of Chief State School Officers
Utah education college deans National Association of State Boards of Education
Utah Association of Public Charter Schools American Association of School Administrators
National School Boards Association

We also asked these entities to forward the notice to anyone they thought might be interested. The vacancy has also received media attention and this should drive additional traffic to the Utah State Office of Education website where the notice is posted.

The Board’s committee will go through the applications sent in following the Sept. 23 deadline. We will screen out those who do not meet the qualifications set for the job and we will ask the semifinalists to come to Salt Lake City where they will be interviewed not just by the Board’s committee, but also by a group of people with representatives from:

Utah School Boards Association Utah Elementary School Principals
Utah School Superintendents Association Utah Secondary School Principals
Governor’s Office Utah Senate
Utah House of Representatives Utah PTA
Utah Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee Salt Lake Chamber
Prosperity 2020 Governor’s Office of Economic Development
State Board of Regents Utah education deans
Utah College of Applied Technology Utah State Office of education
Utah State Office of Rehabilitation Utah Education Association
Utah State Charter School Board

The Board committee, with significant input from the interview committee, will make recommendations for finalists for the full Utah State Board of Education to interview. The names of the finalists will be released publicly before the final interview, giving the public a chance to make comments to their Board Member before any hiring is done. We are also mindful of criticism leftover from our last hiring process, namely, that it was time consuming and left the public education system unsettled for too long.

The Utah State Board of Education anticipates this process will be completed by mid-October. We do not believe this process is rushed. We believe we are being both thorough and inclusive in the process. We also believe the process will result in Utah getting the best superintendent we can find to replace Dr. Shumway.

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