Waukee School Board Discusses Superintendent Search

Waukee Community School District’s Board of Education began outlining a succession plan with current superintendent, Dr. David Wilkerson, 18 months ago. During the April 11 Board meeting, executive director for the School Administrators of Iowa, Roark Horn, discussed criteria for selecting the next superintendent.

During the discussion, Board members identified 11 qualities they felt the next superintendent should have.

  1. Ability to Build Relationships
  2. Communication
  3. Adaptability
  4. Visionary
  5. Strong Leadership & Delegation Skills
  6. Accessibility & Commitment to Position
  7. Approachable
  8. Trustworthy
  9. Ability to Build Capacity with Staff
  10. Comfort with Highly Visible Position
  11. Competency of Superintendency

Wilkerson also identified renewed emphasis on elementary reading, technology-infrastructure in the classroom, security and facility planning as some of the immediate challenges the next superintendent will have to face.

The Board expressed concerns about not wanting to fracture the culture the District has built to date. The next superintendent will need to keep the administrative team moving in the same direction, while managing growth and insuring ALL students have access to a top quality education.

Horn helped the Board recognize that the role of superintendent was going to change over the next few years, regardless of Dr. Wilkerson’s retirement. The role has to be dynamic, adaptive and visionary. Although the superintendent will no longer be able to visit every classroom, it will be critical for them to find ways to stay connected. Leadership development will be essential as delegating becomes more important.

Waukee Community School District has a history of preparing and then hiring internal candidates for their superintendent.

“Successful companies bring up leaders from within. It’s usually when things are going bad that companies look outside. The qualities we have listed don’t suggest a need for a change agent at this point,” Mary Scheve, school board president, said.

“There is some real truth to the Waukee Way and there is value in people who have lived the growth and understand its impact,” Susan Bunz, board member, said. “Culture isn’t something that can be learned quickly. We don’t have time to stand still while we wait for someone to learn who we are and where we are going.”

The Board, as a whole, agreed they should look internally first for the next superintendent. Over the next couple weeks, the Board will be revising the superintendent’s job description and creating a proposed action plan for hiring.

More information will be posted to the website once it becomes available.