By alexandra hedrick
Special to The Advocate
July 06, 2012
ZACHARY — The Zachary Community School Board plans to name Finance Director Gordon Robertson as the district’s interim superintendent while it searches for a successor to Superintendent Warren Drake.
Drake last month announced he is leaving the district after 10 years of service to become one of five “network leaders” in the Louisiana Department of Education who will assist parish school systems in complying with new state curriculum and teacher evaluation standards.
The board’s Executive Committee will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday to continue discussions about the process for interviewing applicants for Drake’s position.
The board informally agreed Monday to name Robertson as the interim superintendent when Drake leaves Sept. 4.
The board could not take a formal vote on naming Robertson because the meeting was called as a “work session,” rather than a special meeting. A vote is planned July 12.
Board members also agreed that the interim superintendent should be someone already working in the district, that state certification as a superintendent will not be required for the interim post and that the interim superintendent cannot apply for Drake’s job.
Board member Scott Swilley suggested Robertson for the interim job, saying he has already served as acting superintendent at times when Drake was out of town.
After more discussion, board President Jannie Rogers asked, “So, everyone is comfortable with Gordon?” No one dissented.
During Monday’s meeting, Bob Hammonds, a lawyer specializing in education law, went over the process of selecting both an interim superintendent and a permanent replacement.
Hammonds said he has helped in more than 200 superintendent searches across the state. He gave the board advice on the size of the search committee, the interview process and how much time the hiring process should take — suggesting no longer than six months.
Board Vice President Gaynell Young, Drake, and other board members agreed with Hammonds.
“What we don’t want to happen, we don’t want disruption during testing,” Young said.
The board also discussed the option of the superintendent candidate having full certification from the state Education Department at the time an application is submitted, rather than allowing a candidate to obtain the certification later.
Some candidates who live in other states may be eligible for Louisiana certification, but Hammonds warned of possible problems in allowing them to apply and get certified later.
Drake also recommended the board not use an outside group of superintendents as part of the selection committee, but to get feedback from the school principals on the candidates.