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School board decides on superintendent salary

The Dickinson Public School Board voted to approve an offer of $210,000 per year as salary for the person who would be chosen for the soon-to-be-vacant superintendent position during a special meeting on Friday.

Deciding upon the salary was only a component of the meeting, which also discussed a sampling of desired traits that teachers, staff, parents and community members had voted on to determine just what manner of person Dickinson wants its next superintendent to be.

"We really tried to have all groups represented," School Board President Brent Seaks said following the meeting. "When they (got all the votes in) what they ended up with—they took the ten (top choices). So hopefully when someone is considering, 'Boy, I want to go to Dickinson, what are they looking for?' they can say, 'Hey, that's me, that's me, I have those gifts.'"

The board and their recruiter, Ray and Associates, Inc. based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, went over a proposed job description/advertisement during the meeting, which showcased scenic pictures of the region, a description of the community and a profile of the school district, as well as a list of the top-voted desirable qualities in a candidate.

"It ... gives the guiding direction for the board when we're interviewing and making a decision," Seaks added. "So it's like your core tenets."

These qualities include a strong commitment to "student-first" philosophy, a desire to promote positive student behavior, and to possess people skills, leadership skills and "inspires trust" while conducting themselves with "high levels of self confidence and optimism." Strong communication skills were also desired.

In light of the increasing number of vacant positions plaguing the district right now, another top qualification is experience in "recruiting and maintaining exceptional staff."

The salary was initially proposed to be offered at $205,000 annually, but during discussion was eventually bumped up to $210,000. This puts Dickinson in a roughly central portion of the range of superintendent salaries, which had some outliers in the $230,000 range and some lower, in the $190,000 or below range. Minot's school district, for example, was at around $209,000.

"I think we're in the range for what school districts are paying," Seaks said.

The deadline to apply is March 25. The current superintendent, Doug Sullivan, is expected to serve in the role until June. All materials submitted as part of the superintendent application will, according to the ad, remain confidential to the extent the law will allow. After all applications have been reviewed by the consulting firm, then the top candidates will be presented to the board for its consideration.

Selection of candidates for final interviews is the sole responsibility of the Board.

In addition to the desired traits and base requirements, such as qualifying to obtain superintendent certification in North Dakota, the want ad also requests four current letters of recommendation alongside a letter of application stating personal qualifications, experiences and reasons for their interest in the position.

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