The Ottumwa Courier

March 6, 2013

Van Buren superintendent resigns

School board explores options for beginning a search for replacement

Courier correspondent

OTTUMWA — The Van Buren school district is looking for a new superintendent

At its recent meeting, the Van Buren school board accepted the resignation of Superintendent Lisa Beames, who will become the new superintendent at the Anamosa school district this July. She had been hired by Van Buren in 2010.

“It was a hard decision,” Beames said. “I appreciate the support you have given me. This is a good community.”

Board President Kara McEntee said, “We appreciate everything you have done for us. You have done amazing work and we wish you well.”

The board also set in motion its plan on beginning a superintendent search with several options to consider.

The board could launch a search on its own, hire an outside search company or have Beames do a search from her office. McEntee also said the district could share superintendents or hire an interim superintendent next year to buy the district some time.

The board favored hiring an outside search firm.

“One thing you must consider is the liability,” Beames said. “By hiring an outside firm, you remove the liability.”

The board considered two search companies: Ray and Associates and Gaylord Tryon and Associates.

Ray and Associates already gave a proposal, which is $5,500 plus expenses.

“I think we would be money ahead in hiring a firm,” said Board member Terry Jester. “They can weed out the non-potential candidates. Everything we’ve dealt with Ray and Associates in the past has been great.”

The board also considered the idea of sharing a superintendent.

“I bring up the idea of sharing with a neighboring district,” McEntee said.

Board member Bob Steingreaber said, “I would expand it to any district our size to see if there are any possibilities. I think we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t at least look at it.”

Jester said he isn’t opposed to contacting other districts but would be opposed to sharing.

“I understand it financially, but we have too many things going on right now.”

Jester said the district would lose some control by sharing a superintendent. “We need to have control. I don’t want to talk and then find out they (the superintendent) are gone.”

McEntee agreed with the concerns and said, “It would have to fit perfectly to make it work.”

McEntee said one board president of a neighboring school district approached her about the possibility of sharing superintendents.

The board voted to hire Ray and Associates to begin the search and contacted surrounding districts, Harmony, Fairfield, Cardinal and Davis County, about the possibility of sharing.