There were more audience members present than the number of minutes it took for the Neligh-Oakdale Board of Education to approve the hiring of a superintendent search firm this afternoon.
With 17 people in the audience, it took just 10 minutes for the board to discuss and unanimously approve the hiring of the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) to handle the search to replace Superintendent Kimberly Lingenfelter.
Hiring an interim superintendent was briefly touched upon at the special meeting in the afternoon, but much discussion took place on the topic earlier that morning during the strategic planning session. View video from Strategic Planning Retreat about Hiring Interim Superintendent.
Lingenfelter, who is in her fourth academic year with the district, resigned in December. At the January board meeting, three board members asked for Lingenfelter's contract to be placed on a future agenda. Board president David Wright refused. Offering her a new contract has not been publicly discussed since.
Wright called a special meeting for 3:30 p.m. today, following their day-long strategic planning retreat since no action can take place at the workshop. Discussion and action to hire a search firm was the only action item on Tuesday's special meeting.
Three firms presented to the board during the retreat - NASB, McPherson & Jacobsen and the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA).
Brad Higgins said having worked with NASB four years ago on the hiring of Lingenfelter, he was leaning toward that firm. Higgins said he knew their process was effective, and he felt the costs between the three firms were very similar.
"I felt they had the most personal touch," Schindler said. "I felt she had the most knowledge of our situation."
Kenny Reinke said he felt NASB was more familiar with the "school issues and what we're facing."
Chris Ford said two firms stood out to him, including NASB. "When you're talking about someone you want to come in here, it's important that they know your situation - that they know your business," he said.
Ryan Koinzan said, "They recognize the issues that have went on here and want to address that immediately."
Wright said both McPherson & Jacobson and NRCSA felt the board would be successful in hiring a superintendent at the present time while the NASB "hinted the interim route."
Wright asked, "Are you all comfortable with that thought that they had?"
Higgins said, "We need to decide the company before we decide the other route with them, right?"
"For sure, for sure," Koinzan said.
Schindler made the motion to hire NASB with Koinzan seconding. The motion carried 6-0. Wright said he would contact the NASB and set up a time to meet with board members. All board members will be in attendance, so the meeting must be advertised and be open to the public.