OPUSD begins search for new superintendent

Board of Education plans to interview search firms to guide process

Shoshana Medved, Ombudsman

The quest to select a new superintendent for the Oak Park Unified School District has just begun. On Dec. 8, the OPUSD Board of Education members motioned to interview five different search firms. One of the five will be chosen to guide the hiring process for the incoming superintendent, following the retirement of the current superintendent, Dr. Tony Knight, at the end of this school year.  

“Districts can approach the search for a new superintendent in a variety of ways, such as forming a subcommittee of the Board or hiring a search firm that assists the Board in the process,” OPUSD Board President Barbara Laifman wrote to the Talon. “The qualities of a new superintendent will be a point of much discussion for which the Board, stakeholders, and community members will have input.” 

The firms that will be interviewed are McPherson & Jacobson L.L.C., Leadership Associates, the Cosca Group and BWP & Associates. The Board decided to approve all five search firms to give each one a chance to share what they can offer, but one firm asked to withdraw their proposal. Firm interviews will be conducted at a special Board meeting on Dec. 16. On Dec. 21, the Board will hold another meeting to select a firm and approve the contract.

“We anticipate that the search firm will begin work in January,” OPUSD Governing Board Member and Vice President Allen Rosen said in a ParentSquare post.

While OPUSD has been affected by COVID-19, the steps to find a new superintendent have remained “virtually” unchanged, as the process has simply moved online. 

“Hopefully, the COVID-19 case numbers will decrease and/or a vaccine will be available which will increase the likelihood of portions of the search process being in-person,” Laifman wrote. “The Board is looking forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders and the community in searching for and finding a new superintendent that is the right fit for the unique and special qualities the encompass OPUSD.”

For updates and further details on the process, access the Board of Education Meeting Calendar here.