Officials: Allowing late application shows competitive nature of superintendent jobs

The new superintendent for Kings Schools applied for the job nearly two weeks after the deadline set by the school board for candidates, according to records obtained by the Journal-News.

Greg Sears, who is currently an assistant superintendent with the Forest Hills district in Hamilton County, submitted his application to the Kings Board of Education in early May.

But the school board had publicly announced a deadline of April 23 for candidates to apply to replace outgoing superintendent Tim Ackermann.

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According to documents obtained through a public records request, Sears’ application was filed with Kings officials May 5, after school board members had already begun interviewing some of the nearly two dozen candidates who applied earlier.

But the leader of the Kings school board said members made the decision to allow Sears’ application into the pool of candidates in part because of the difficulty in hiring superintendents for public school systems.

“The market for school superintendents is very competitive at this time. There have been recent openings in Sycamore, Loveland, Lebanon, and Monroe,” school board President Stacie Belfrom told the Journal-News.

“The initial deadline for applications was April 23rd. The board continued to contact candidates after the deadline to provide the best pool of candidates. It was not a case of not having good candidates or enough candidates, but simply the pursuit of bringing the best to Kings.”

Applicants to such high-profile superintendent positions often do so without notifying their current employers, and Belfrom said that was one of the reasons why Kings’ deadline was modified.

“Candidates entering a superintendent search after the initial deadline is a common practice in the school industry. The nature of the position is high profile and seeking employment with another district can create difficult circumstances in their current role,” he said.

“After those initial interviews, the board felt strongly they had two candidates who met the stakeholder criteria gathered from nearly 200 Kings parents, community members, and staff. The candidates met the criteria of being visible, good communicators, experienced with student achievement, diversity and inclusion while working in high achieving school districts.”

“Based on the feedback from the stakeholders, the focus groups, and the two interviews conducted by the board, it was clear who the best candidate was in the process. That person is Greg Sears who the Kings board hired.”

Sears will start as superintendent of Kings on Aug. 1.

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