Director Selection Procedures Employed by Saskatchewan Rural School Divisions
By Gordon Dirks

SSTA Research Centre Report #70: 10 pages, $11.

Introduction "Choosing a...director is one of the most important decision that a school board must make. Consequently, they should treat it extremely seriously and take every step that will help to ensure that the decision will be the right one.”
Purpose of Study
Significance of Study
Methodology
Findings
Conclusions

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The SSTA Research Centre grants permission to reproduce up to three copies of each report for personal use. Each copy must acknowledge the author and the SSTA Research Centre as the source. A complete and authorized copy of each report is available from the SSTA Research Centre.
The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.


Introduction

"Choosing a...director is one of the most important decision that a school board must make. Consequently, they should treat it extremely seriously and take every step that will help to ensure that the decision will be the right one."

As chief executive officer and educational leader, the director of education occupies a role crucial to the welfare of public education. School boards have come to rely heavily on the advice, leadership and management expertise of board employed chief administrators, and consequently, the act of hiring a person to assume the duties of a director should be a matter of utmost concern for public school boards and professional educators alike. (See Appendix 1 for a listing of typical duties assumed by a school board's chief administrator.)

Since hiring a director of education is one of the most significant actions a school board will take, it is important that Saskatchewan rural boards of education use procedures which will most likely result in the hiring of a superior candidate. Research conducted by Cummings~ and Holder~, however, indicates that, in general, boards are not aware of nor do they follow recommended selection procedures.


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Purpose of the Study

This study was concerned with an investigation of the degree to which Saskatchewan rural school division boards follow recommended director selection procedures. In particular, the study attempted to answer the following two questions.

1. What is the degree of Saskatchewan rural school division board compliance with the director selection procedure recommendations of professional literature?

2. What is the degree of Saskatchewan rural school division board compliance with those director selection procedure recommendations of professional literature judged to be of critical importance be a majority of a panel of Saskatchewan director selection experts?


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Significance of the Study

This study is of particular importance in Saskatchewan because, as Table 1 indicates, during the last decade sixty-two director selections were conducted in rural Saskatchewan. Given this number, it is reasonable to conclude that the quality of education in rural Saskatchewan is and will be to a substantial degree dependent upon whether or not rural boards utilize those selection procedures which will increase the likelihood of making the best possible director selection decisions.


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Methodology

The writer conducted a survey of professional literature and found that selection writers recommend school boards use twenty different director selection procedures when hiring a director of education. (See Appendix 2 for listing of these recommended selection procedures.) These twenty recommendations were then submitted to a panel of Saskatchewan administrators composed of thirteen Regional and Assistant regional superintendents from the Saskatchewan Government Department of Education. The panel was asked to judge which

of the twenty recommended selection procedures should be considered to be of critical importance when selecting a director. (See Appendix 3).

Thirty-four present or former rural school division board chairmen completed a questionnaire designed to determine which of the twenty recommended selection procedures had been used by their boards when hiring directors of education.


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Findings

Of these thirty-four respondents, twenty-seven indicated that their board had selected a director in which two or more candidates had been considered for the position of director. The findings of this study pertain only to these twenty-seven competitions. These findings are summarized as follows.

1. The average school board compliance with the twenty director selection procedure recommendations of professional literature was 48 percent.

2. The average school board compliance with those twelve recommendations of professional literature judged to be of critical importance by a majority of a Saskatchewan panel of director selection experts was 58 percent.

Appendices 2, 3, 4, and 5 indicate the varying degrees of overall and individual school board compliance with director selection procedure recommendations.


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Conclusions

The Saskatchewan rural school division boards represented in this study did not, in general, follow many of those recommendations deemed to be important in the professional literature but also the panel of Saskatchewan administrators.

Less than half of the boards in question felt they had allotted sufficient time to conduct their selection, identified and wrote selection criteria or developed a list of duties for their director-to-be. Fifteen percent of the boards prepared an informational brochure to utilize during the selection process and four boards advertised the position vacancy beyond Saskatchewan's borders. Some 80 percent of the responding boards consulted persons familiar with the candidates' previous work performance.

Fifty-two percent of the boards attempted to use rating schemes during interviews but only 28 percent of the boards used an objective rating scheme to short-list applicants.

Twenty-three percent of respondents indicated that interview questions had not covered the entire scope of the directors' duties. Twenty-seven percent of boards felt they did not have sufficient time to review candidates after interviewing.

It is likely that the results and findings of this study can be extended to most rural divisions in Saskatchewan who have employed their own Director during the past decade. It

is of interest here, that many boards have not followed recommended procedures as closely as might be expected however, the study didn't explore the reasons for the difference between what "theory" says should happen and what "actually" OCCURS.

In conclusion, it is suggested that efforts be made to assist boards to become aware of suggested director selection procedures to overcome problems in hiring and more important to assist boards to improve the likelihood of employing the candidate who will best serve the interests of education in the community. To this end the following recommendations are made:

1. The Saskatchewan Department of Education, in conjunction with the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association, research, develop and write selection procedure guidelines to be used by Saskatchewan rural school division boards when conducting a director selection.

2. Copies of the developed guidelines should be made available to all rural school division boards, and particularly so at the time after which a school board has informed the Department of Education of its intentions to conduct a director selection.

3. The Department of Education and/or the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association should ensure that rural school division boards utilize the assistance of a professional person competent in director selection matters. It should be the responsibility of this individual to ensure that the above-mentioned guidelines are closely followed.


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