MCPS selects Nebraska company for superintendent search

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Missoula County Public Schools administrators have chosen a Nebraska-based consulting firm to lead the search for a new superintendent.

A committee of the board of directors that considered proposals from four different companies reached a unanimous consensus on Tuesday to hire McPherson & Jacobson, LLC.

“I would say it was a really, really strong interview that put them over the top,” administrator Keegan Witt said. “They were in the running anyway, but a great interview and enjoyed the process they put in place which would keep us all very involved in selecting a superintendent.”

During the review process, the committee considered the services offered by the candidates, the cost to retain them and their interview. Each committee member independently rated the consultants, Witt said.

The contract with the consultants is still being negotiated, but the price will not exceed $27,000.

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According to its website, McPherson & Jacobson has been researching national superintendents since 1991 and now has more than 125 consultants across the country. They use a five-step process in collaboration with school boards and other stakeholder groups.

The company recently worked with school districts in Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland and others in their search for a superintendent.

Administrator Koan Mercer said the applicants were optimistic about the current search schedule.

The last time the district opened a superintendent search was during the 2018-19 school year. The board did not approve a consultant for the search until late January and did not meet with him until February to discuss the hiring process.

Pat McHugh said the consultants are looking for dates to meet with the board in October to kick off the process and work out timelines.

The district is currently led by Acting Superintendent Russ Lodge, after former district superintendent Rob Watson stepped down in late June to take on a new role as executive director of Montana School Administrators.

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