Rumor has it that there is a dearth of qualified candidates to serve in the role of school superintendent. That is what the consultants making big money would have school boards and taxpayers believe. But, the real truth is that a small group of people are causing a perceived shortage of qualified candidates in an effort to trump up the demand for their seemingly magical consulting services. School Boards are naive to think that searching, identifying and hiring a school superintendent is any different than hiring any other staff member. In the case of Hamburg Schools, searching for a superintendent is becoming such a common event that the process should be second nature, and the need to hire an expensive consultant is simply a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Three examples of recent or current superintendent searches got Concerned concerned that there might be a larger agenda for some consultants when identifying candidates for school districts.
Here are a few recent examples,
Frontier Schools, a client of the Harris Beach lawfirm, has hired retired Williamsville superintendent, Howard Smith to lead the superintendent search. Since retiring from Williamsville in 2011, Mr. Smith has served as a consultant with the Harris Beach law firm and as a consultant in superintendent searches with School Leadership, LLC School Leadership LLC. According to the Buffalo News, the Frontier board hired Howard Smith of School Leadership LLC (and Harris Beach) to head its superintendent search at a maximum cost of $18, 500, in addition to related expenses. Concerned wonders what these related expenses might be?
Niagara Wheatfield Schools, also a client of Harris Beach, also hired Mr. Howard Smith, a Harris Beach and School Leadership consultant, to conduct their search for a new superintendent. Niagara Wheatfield Superintendent Search.
Additionally, Silver Creek Schools, a client of Harris Beach, also hired Mr. Howard Smith to conduct their new superintendent. Silver Creek, after hiring Howard Smith of Harris Beach and School Leadership, LLC, settled on Williamsville South High Principal Daniel Ljiljanich, who Mr. Smith hired in December 2008, while Superintendent of Williamsville.
It seems to Concerned Hamburger that lots of taxpayer dollars are going to consultants and law firms. Perhaps, the Hamburg Central School District should do the search for a superintendent the old fashioned way- put an ad in the paper, and perhaps on a few job websites and collect resumes. Hire the person with the best credentials, the most experience and with the heart to put children first. There is no need to hire expensive former superintendents to put a mysterious spin on hiring a school leader. If recent experiences, and the hiring of Steven Achramovitch (who ends his career with Hamburg today 8-9-13) doesn't serve as a lesson of what NOT to do, then perhaps the school district deserves what it gets.