Search process has difficulties

At a time when there is a large pool of unemployed talent out there, a search process for the Washoe County School District turned up six candidates for school superintendent, three of whom soon withdrew from consideration, one of whom left the military under a cloud, another who left a previous superintendancy under a cloud.

“Two have very little education experience, and two are tainted by scandal,” complained one community leader. “Three of the four are retired military. In this job market, if they can’t get better candidates than these, I think whatever they paid the executive search firm was a waste.”

Jim Huge & Associates was hired for $29,000 to conduct the search for a replacement for Paul Dugan (pictured).

“I would stack these candidates up against anybody,” Huge said. “There’s no question in my mind but what the six finalists … would be superb superintendents and what the board, the community and everybody else was asking for is somebody who’s a proven leader, somebody who understands that this [school district] is a corporation with almost a half-a-billion-dollar budget and one who can move and lead people to the point where they can increase student achievement. And all these people have the skill set to do that. And the finalist they’ve ended up with [Edmond Heatley], yes, he’s ex-military, but he’s also proven as a superintendent that he can do the work.”

Huge last year also advised the Lyon County School Board on its member working arrangements and recommended board procedures.

Heatley, given a tentative nod by the school board, is currently school superintendent in the Chino Valley School District in California. He edged out Hector Montenegro of Arlington, Texas, and Lawrence Fryer of Prince George’s County, Md.