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?