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Update on School District Administrator Search

This article contains editorial content /commentary.

This article was edited to correct typos and syntax. 

The Chronicle previously wrote briefly about the Lodi School District’s search for a new Superintendent (also called District Administrator).  We contacted the District offices for more information on the two initial aspects of that search: An online survey and partnership with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

Below are the questions presented, and the answers provided by School Board President Susan Miller.  Editor’s commentary is in red.

A) The school district had an online survey posted, asking district residents to prioritize certain aspects of the DA’s position and approach.  As of the 12th (or earlier) that survey has ended.

1) How many people responded to the survey?
172 people responded to the survey

The municipalities served by the School District of Lodi have a combined population of approximately 10,500 persons, about 7,800 of which are over 18.  172 responses comes out to about a 2.2% of the district’s adult population  A response rate of 30% is considered “good” for online surveys.  It’s unknown how many people knew about the survey, so it’s impossible to know the actual response rate for this survey.

2) How long was the survey open?  When was it posted and when did it end?
WASB sent the survey link to Maureen Palmer on November 27th.  It was posted on that day or shortly thereafter and the survey closed on December 15th.

I attempted to respond to the survey on the 12th of December (as noted in (A) above).  As of that afternoon, the survey was no longer available and the link had been removed from the District’s website.  If it was posted right away on the 27th, that would mean the survey was available for 14 days.

3) How and when was the survey publicized?
To inform about the survey, the board sent a press release about the survey to the local paper.  In addition, a link to the survey was posted on the district website, on Facebook and an Infinite Campus message was sent to district parents.

Not having the “when” part of the question answered, it’s unknown how long people had to respond to the survey.   By “the local paper”, I assume Miller means the Lodi Enterprise/Poynette Press.  The Lodi Valley Chronicle did not receive the press release.  The District’s Facebook page has a good following (just under 3,000), so that seems like a good way to get the word out to some.  If everyone of those followers knew about the survey, that’s still a very low response rate (5.9%)  That’s okay for getting a general feeling of what people want, but it’s not really representative of the whole population–especially since the demographics of Facebook are somewhat skewed.

4) Was the response rate below, at, or above expectations?
It is difficult to figure out an actual response rate.  We are pleased that 172 people took the time to complete the survey and to provide input on the qualities for the next superintendent.

It’s good to see that 172 people took the time to answer the short survey, but it would be nicer to see the community more active in the process, and more vocal in letting the board know what it wants and expects from the new Superintendent.

5) Is there any initial data that stands out in the responses?
The survey data confirmed a desire for the next superintendent to be a collaborative leader and to be honest, ethical, approachable and to be an exemplary communicator.  Also expressed was an interest in community engagement skills and skills in the area of budget development and in the area of recruitment, management and development of high quality staff.

B) The district website says that the WASB has been asked to assist in the application process, and the information provided says that all applications must go through the WASB online portal.

1) Why did the school board choose to pass all applications through the WASB?
WASB was selected to assist the board with the overall search process.  Part of WASB’s search services involve the overall coordination of the application process.

2) Is the WASB active in the selection process?
As the selected search firm, WASB provides technical assistance and advice throughout the entire superintendent search process.

3) Is the WASB “pre-screening” applicants, or does the Lodi School Board receive a copy of all applications?
WASB does not pre-screen the applicants.  The Lodi School Board receives a copy of all the applications.  The WASB search consultant works with the Board to review all applicants and to provide advice as requested.  The Board determines who will be interviewed.

Did you know about the School Board's survey?

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