RISD Superintendent Dr. Carolyn Bukhair is retiring. The law says a school board is responsible for five tasks:

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1.   Set the tax rate.


2.   Approve a budget


3.   Hire and evaluate the superintendent.


4.   Establish policy


5.   Oversee the quality of governance of the district.


By far, the most important thing we do is hire the superintendent.


I was privileged to serve on the board that selected Dr. Bukhair eight years ago. It was a good decision that has improved the quality of RISD education and enriched our community. Now it’s time to do it again.


Here’s our process:


On Feb. 4, we hired a search team consisting of attorney David Thompson, of Bracewell Patterson, and Dr. Mike Moses, Superintendent of Dallas ISD, as a consultant. The opening is already posted on key Web sites.


The job is considered very desirable. However, the best candidates are probably not out shopping for a job. So one of the great benefits David and Mike bring to the table is their knowledge of state and national talent. They will contact people they consider qualified and invite them to apply for the job.


In the meantime, they will conduct intimate focus groups of teachers, staff, students, parents and community leaders to identify a profile of the desired candidate. Anyone not invited to participate in the focus groups is welcome to e-mail their thoughts to david.thompson@bracepatt.com. While we welcome all community input, the board is ultimately responsible for the final decision.


David and Mike will bring all the applicant resumes to us in late March, and we will decide whom to invite for interviews. During this phase, anonymity for the candidates is critically important so people do not burn bridges in their home district. Without it, the pool of candidates could be significantly reduced.


After interviews, the board will select one, possibly two, finalists for another interview. We hope to announce a final selection by April 23. Then the clock ticks for 21 days before we can sign the contract. Here again, the reputation of our search firm will help us, because if a finalist attempts to create a salary bidding war between RISD and their current district, then David and Mike will never recommend them for a position again.


We plan to have the contract signed before the May 15 election. It’s a tight timeframe, but one in which we believe we can make a quality decision.