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Published: Wednesday, 7/5/2006

Timeline for TPS search up in the air

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Now that the Toledo Board of Education has the cushion of a year to select a permanent superintendent, the latest timeline proposal has finalists for the job interviewing in December.

The board has yet to approve the new schedule to replace former Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Eugene Sanders. Some members indicated it could change.

"When I looked [at] that timeline, I didn't believe a December interview schedule would really maximize the time that we would need," board member Robert Torres said. "My sense is that some folks, when we get into the holidays, tend not to focus and I don't think we would be able to get genuine interest at that time."

He suggested holding final interviews as late as March - closer to the expiration of the board's contract with interim Superintendent John Foley in July, 2007.

Mr. Foley, who was previously chief of staff in Mr. Sanders' administration, has said he would be interested in the position permanently.

In addition, the district will be looking for a new treasurer because James Fortlage announced his retirement last week, effective Sept. 1. He was among 12 top administrators who resigned or retired in the wake of Mr. Sanders' departure.

The board in April took the first steps to replace Mr. Sanders by hiring a Milwaukee firm to conduct a national search.

The board and the company, PROACT Search Inc., had tentatively scheduled public meetings May 30 and 31 but did not hold the meetings because of the appointment of Mr. Foley when Mr. Sanders was allowed to resign May 22 - three months earlier than previously agreed.

Nancy Noeske, president of PROACT Search, said an advertisement placed in the trade journal Edu-cation Week produced five applicants, whom she declined to identify.

"I think when they extended the contract of the interim superintendent to July, 2007, the pressure was off for the timeline we had agreed to," she said.

The board had hoped to find a new superintendent before August, when Mr. Sanders originally planned to resign. He is now chief executive officer of the Cleveland public school system.

Board President Darlene Fisher said all five board members would discuss a new superintendent selection schedule during a retreat this month.



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