Daniel Nerad Chosen as Next Superintendent of Birmingham Schools
The chief of the Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District is the Board of Education's choice to replace outgoing David Larson.
Nerad, currently the superintendent of the Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District, was unanimously selected Monday night during a special meeting of the school board after returning last Thursday for a second round of interviews, a presentation and dinner with the school board.
In the end, Nerad was up against fellow finalist Robert Shaner, executive director of instruction and technology with the Warren Consolidated School District. The school board also had a second round of interviews with Shaner on Wednesday.
The school board has been working to replace outgoing superintendent David Larson, who announced in late March that he would be taking a superintendent position in Glenbard Township, IL.
"I don't think we just picked the best candidate, I think we picked the right candidate," school board Trustee Steve Scheidt said.
Nerad was not immediately available for comment Monday night.
School board impressed with leadership, focus on kids
School board members noted they were particularly impressed with Nerad's background, his proven record of leadership and his continued focus on children.
"(Nerad is) a geniune leader who's focused on his kids," Trustee Robert Lawrence said.
Truseee Lori Soifer agreed. "It's clear that his life is around serving children well," she said. Before working as a superintendent in Madison and Green Bay, WI, Nerad spent the early part of his career as a social worker.
Trustee Geri Rinschler noted that in his interviews, Nerad seemed on point when it came to knowing how to work with a strategic pian. Meanwhile, all school board members seemed impressed with Nerad's long history in education.
Trustee Chris Conti said it's a plus that Nerad has worked in such a large district, especially given how complex a district like Birmingham can be.
"This job needs someone who can understand a budget ... and he gets budget," he said.
During his time in Madison, Nerad was named Superintendent of the Year for Wisconsin in 2006. In an evaluation last year, however, Nerad received a rating on the low end of "proficient," a point probed extensively during Nerad's second interview with the school board.
Lawrence, however, said Monday night that Nerad was caught in a difficult political situation. During his second interview, Nerad said while he feels he doesn't deserve the Superintendent of the Year recognition, he also felt he didn't deserve the poor evaluation either.
"He's a person who has humility, he has self-reflection and he has integrity," Soifer said.
School board to attend site visit, negotiate contract
The school board's announcement Monday night comes after a two-month search process that began shortly after Larson announced he was leaving the district in March.
The board hired School Exec Connect, a national superintendent search firm, to conduct the search, eventually receiving 40 applications from across the country.
On May 22, the school board announced five semifinalists for the position, including administrators from Colorado and Troy, as well as Groves High School Principal Fred Procter.
After two nights of interviews, the school board selected Nerad and Shaner to return for a second round of interviews, which included meetings with two committees made up of parents, teachers and community members.
From here, a select number of school board members will visit the Madison Metropolitan School District. The board will then work on negotiating a contract with Nerad with the intention of setting a start date as soon as possible.
During his second interview Thursday, Nerad noted that his current contract, which he elected not to renew in March, stipulates he provide the Madison Board of Education a five-month notice of his leave.
"Given where they are, I'm not comfortable ... to just walk out at the end of the month," Nerad said. "But I'm hoping there would be some negotiations."
The Birmingham Board of Education hopes to consider Nerad's contract at its next regular meeting June 19.
Check out Birmingham Schools Superintendent Search 2012 for more on Birmingham Public Schools' search for a new superintendent this spring and summer.