the July 26, 2004 print edition
don't copy top-cop search
for Moses successor must be targeted, proactive
-- and confidential
Neal and Jim Leverette
order for the Dallas Independent School District
to be successful in its search for a new superintendent
replacing Dr. Mike Moses, the process must be
very different from the one used in the recent
search for Dallas' new police chief.
not, failure is a real possibility -- and the
outcome could negatively affect the lives of
thousands of school-age children attending Dallas
experts with a national executive search firm,
we're hired by companies to conduct exclusive
searches to find and attract top executives.
Having worked with clients ranging from General
Motors and American Airlines to Perot Systems,
we believe our knowledge and experience in the
search process speaks for itself, and we've
been very successful in attracting and recruiting
leaders to run multimillion-dollar organizations.
DISD would certainly fall into this category,
as the school district has a larger budget than
many Fortune 500 companies.
importantly, the DISD superintendent's role
is not for an individual seeking on-the-job
training. DISD must find a candidate that possesses
the "been-there, done-that" experience
associated with running large-scale school districts.
chosen candidate's résumé must
exhibit a successful track record of handling
complex issues and improving critical standards
in the areas of academic performance, public
image, school safety, finances and facilities,
to name a few.
failure involving this critical hire is not
an option for DISD.
this means for DISD is that there will be a
very short list of qualified candidates from
which to choose. And, unfortunately, a number
of these desired candidates will not be interested
in the DISD position for a variety of reasons.
Therefore, the search firm and/or search committee
must be prepared with a well thought-out and
targeted, proactive recruiting campaign.
you must approach all qualified candidates in
a very professional manner using discretion
and caution. Next, you must be able to "sell"
the opportunity to the most competent individuals,
showing them why it will be a win-win situation
for them as well as DISD.
means not waiting for individuals to apply for
the position, or running ads in education-oriented
magazines or on Web sites. In all likelihood,
this type of advertising will never attract
a pool of high-quality candidates for the DISD
superintendent position. The best and brightest
candidates will most likely be those who are
uncovered through planned strategic research.
search must be conducted utilizing a confidential
process. Top candidates will not engage in serious
dialogue if they think their names are going
to appear in the newspaper the next day. Under
no circumstances would they allow this information
to be made public until the end of the search
process, as this type of disclosure could jeopardize
their position with their current employer.
the city's recent police chief search appeared
to be an open-book search, and undoubtedly scared
away many top candidates. DISD's search committee
will need to understand the needs and challenges
of this critical role.
the committee must be able to assess -- possibly
with professional assistance -- not only the
skills and talents of the candidates, but also
their "cultural fit" and physiological
makeup. Finally, the search group must be comprised
of people who can be trusted to keep the process
"secret," while always representing
the key interests of the Dallas community.
the Dallas superintendent's position became
too demanding for Dr. Moses. DISD may need to
consider the possibility of bringing in additional
talent to support its next superintendent --
much like a large corporation that will often
employ a CEO, a president/COO and several senior
and Leverette are senior partners at Randall
James Monroe Inc., a Dallas-based global executive-search
here to return to Pressroom for Randall James