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School Boards Speed-Dating Superintendent Applicants

The tight labor market is leading school districts to rush their selection process for their top executives:

School districts will be busy this summer trying to fill an ever-growing number of teacher positions. But this spring, it’s administrator jobs that are in demand. To date, there have been 27 superintendent jobs that have opened up across the state.

…for the school districts that retain Dakota Education Consulting, it’s become an intense one-day process. School boards select a handful of candidates from those that apply, and DEC sets up interviews that take place over a few hours.

“The school boards that we work with, they see every single candidate that applies for a position. They see their entire application, their resume, letter of application, their reference letters.” [DEC chief Tom] Oster said.

After that, an offer is made to a candidate and the board expects an immediate answer.

“The supply and demand of school administrators has gotten so tight that it’s risky for boards to do that. If they wait, they may lose a candidate, or their existing school board may offer them a big raise to stay. And so it’s risky. So we’ve changed our process to all in one day, bring in all of the candidates,” Oster said. “The board deliberates and makes a decision that day. Because honestly, if they waited a couple of days, they wouldn’t have any more information than they do on the day of the interview” [Cooper Seamer, “School Districts Scramble to Fill Administrator Jobs,” KSFY, 2023.05.09].

This rushed superintendent selection process may be good for applicants: they can apply and interview and not be waiting all month for a response. But the pressures of the labor market are shifting oversight further away from the elected school board members and to one well-paid consultant who is shaping the make-up of school administration across the state.

Hmmm…with Kristi Noem complaining that schools have fallen into such bad liberal shape, and with South Dakota’s current superintendents among the vocal critics of Noem’s new Hillsdale social studies standards, how much of the blame for that alleged liberal decadence should fall on good Republican insider Tom Oster, who has wielded such influence in supplying the people who run South Dakota’s schools?


  1. P. Aitch 2023-05-10 08:47

    “And so it’s risky. So we’ve changed our process to all in one day, bring in all of the candidates,” Oster said.

    – That’s great. All the candidates being in the same place on the same day will give those administrator candidates the opportunity to network with each other and learn more details about how much better admin jobs are in Minnesota and Colorado.

  2. Mike J 2023-05-10 09:00

    I think that same process happened last year at my local school district. And we ended up with a terrible Administrator/Superintendent. We got former Platte-Geddes Principal Patrick Frederick. The same one who was principal during the Gear-Up Scandal.

  3. All Mammal 2023-05-10 11:32

    That sure isn’t enough time to perform a federal background check. We already have dealt with plenty of perverts working in the schools with our kids…. even in our public schools!

  4. Mark Anderson 2023-05-10 16:14

    Just use the Florida transfer portal. Not like it sounds, that’s illegal.

  5. P. Aitch 2023-05-10 17:59

    @Mark – Speaking of Florida, Disney CEO Bob Iger addressed the voters of Florida today at the quarterly earnings call.
    As usual Disney takes the “high road” and maintains a dignified decorum in the face of bullying by Florida’s elected Republican legislative and gubernatorial trifecta.
    “The question is, does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or ?” Iger said.

  6. larry kurtz 2023-05-10 18:43

    Elect a clown: expect some burkas.

  7. Mark Anderson 2023-05-10 19:10

    P. Aitch, I’m hoping they move to Atlanta, help solidify Georgia. It would also help destroy the girly voiced shortstop from Dunedin, which by the way I’ve had three of the best times in my life. If DeSantis was just a couple inches taller maybe played outfield he wouldn’t be such a raging little bully. His wife is his mastermind.
    I’m going to design a poster about the boy. I hate doing political crap but I’ve got a great idea about that and a friend who does t shirts. I’m writing this to force myself to do it. Give me a month.

  8. Darrell Solberg 2023-05-10 20:55

    It is a sad time, when the majority party continues to under fund all levels of education in S.D. No wonder the educatiors are leaving for states that give them a livable salary!! According to the majority party, we don’t have the money! However it is amazing that Noem and Legislature can find well over $200,000 to hire an outstate right winger to rewrite standards and completely ignore the recommendations of the committee (mostly educators and South Dakotans) that she authorized to develop and recommend standards, but she NEVER INTENDED TO IMPLEMENT THEM!!! We know what that says about Noem, but what does it say about those that voted her into the Governor’s Office?

  9. P. Aitch 2023-05-10 21:01

    @Mark – Disney is playing a pretty cool passive aggressive card, this summer. They won’t fight bullying with bullying. That’s to low class for Mickey & Minnie. But they ARE promoting Gay Pride events at the park just to get under the skin of the haters 😊

  10. grudznick 2023-05-10 22:10

    Some of these fatcat admiistrator fellows are what many call “frequent trade hoppers.” They work as a PE teacher for a few years, teach Social Studies on the side to get a bigger check, then grab onto these top notch administrator positions through bullying. They are exactly the kind of PE shorts wearing fellows you don’t want running your kids schools.

  11. Richard Schriever 2023-05-11 08:33

    All Mammal – from my recent experience, a Federal Background check takes about 2 hours from time of submission of the fingerprints are submitt4ed (done electronically at a Post Office) and you get the official response form the FBI (again, via e-mail).

    It’s the state background checks (still done on paper and by snail mail) that takes a couple weeks.

    Just sayin’.

  12. All Mammal 2023-05-11 19:05

    Mr. Schriever- in my experience, the federal background checks requiring fingerprints take from days to weeks to get results. These were done for jobs working with kids. It took even longer when I applied for a federal government job in ND. It took over a month to start that job because of the wait. The background checks they do when I purchase firearms, on the other hand, take 7 minutes. Just letting you know.

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