State Board to seek search firm to assist in hiring new Dept. of Education Director

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBoE) Monday voted to retain a search firm to assist in the selection of the state’s first Director of the  Wyoming Department of Education. According to a news release from the WDE, a Request for Proposals, or RFP, which would contract a search firm to identify possible candidates for the Director of the WDE position. The SBoE was charged with finding three qualified candidates for the new position and submit them to the Governor by Dec. 1.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.46.17 PMThe Wyoming State Legislature last week passed, and Governor Matt Mead signed, a bill that transfers the supervision of the WDE from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the newly formed Director’s position.  Mead appointed Dr. Jim Rose, the executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission, as the Interim Director to serve through the end of this year, at which time a permanent director will be hired.

Despite having some of the duties of her office removed, State Superintendent Cindy Hill will retain her role on several state boards, such as the State Loan and Investment Board and the State Board of Land Commissioners. Hill’s office will remain responsible for general oversight of Wyoming education and other specified policy areas, according to Monday’s statement.

Mead met with the SBoE on Monday and said he hopes a search firm would produce a wide range of qualified applicants. “I would like to be left with the idea that there is no wrong person to choose,” he said. “That is the merit of a national search. We need three extraordinary individuals.”

The Governor also suggested a modified open search similar to the process used for the selection of judges, where the finalists’ names are public.

State Board of Education Coordinator Paige Fenton-Hughes, formerly the Supt. of Fremont County School District #1 in Lander, offered some opinions that the board could take in hiring a search firm. Fenton-Hughes said the costs of a selection firm vary. She said some firms base their fees on a percentage of the position’s salary, which has not yet been set by the Governor.

–Wyoming Department of Education