On July 25, the Manawa School District began looking for a new principal for Little Wolf High School. After two weeks, the district had received around 45 applications for the vacancy.
Ed Dombrowski, district administrator for the district, said the administrative team, which includes himself, Megan Yeska, the principal of the Manawa Elementary School, and Brian Adesso, the director of finance for the district, cut that number down to six candidates who were scheduled to be interviewed on Monday, Aug. 13.
Dombrowski said input from teachers at the high school as to what they were looking for in a new principal was used to determine the six finalists. He said the district is looking for someone who has leadership qualities, can develop school culture, knows about technology, is familiar with the common core state standards, can provide continuity and has a strong discipline background.
“We wanted somebody with experience because we looked at the amount of new teachers we have coming into the district, we thought an experienced person would be much more relied upon as far as guiding new people,” Dombrowski said.
Each of the six candidates were scheduled to travel to Manawa on Monday, Aug. 13 to be interviewed at six stations. The six stations included: parents, teachers, staff, business/community members, administration and students.
During this process, each candidate was to be asked eight questions at each station – four standard and four specific to each groups area. The students were allowed to ask three formal questions. Prior to this process, each candidate toured the city with a select group of students and a staff member. During this time students were allowed to ask informal questions.
Each round of questioning was to last 20-22 minutes, with an 8-10 minute break in between interviews. Each candidate was to have two minutes to answer each question, leaving around five minutes for the candidate to ask the specific group questions or to expound on any prior answers.
“When the interviews are over, the committees will then deliberate at the end (of the night),” Dombrowski said. “They will have 15 minutes to decide who their three candidates will be. Then they come together as a large group in the boardroom. I’ll put each of these teams’ selections into a matrix that will bring out the three final candidates.
“Those three will be notified that night by me, and they will come back the next day. Then the board will interview the three finalists picked by our community.”
If there is a tie, the administrative team will break the tie.
“What the community is really doing is sending to the board, three people who they would feel comfortable with,” Dombrowski said.
Because there is a short amount of time before the new school year starts, Dombrowski said it is possible the district will start the new school year without a high school principal.
“We know that if we have a candidate who is already a principal now, we know that there are some contractual things they’ll have to get out of,” Dombrowski said. “Therefore, we may start the year without a principal and I would be moving into that as an interim until that person comes on board. The problem is because it’s that time of year, if we move a principal from one district to another you know that’s going to leave a void in the other district and then they have to go through the process.”