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School board interviews and chooses superintendent search firm

After reviewing proposals from seven executive search firms and interviewing representatives from two, members of the Fayette County Board of Education agreed Feb. 8 to negotiate a contract with Greenwood/Asher & Associates LLC. Their portfolio of searches includes the Fairfax County Public Schools, LA Unified School District, and New York City Public Schools, higher education institutions including historically black colleges and universities, and three previous commissioner searches for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

“We were impressed with their experience and expertise as well as their eagerness and enthusiasm to partner with our district in facilitating an inclusive, transparent search process,” said Fayette County Board of Education Chair Tyler Murphy. “And we are confident in their capacity to work with us and their demonstrated record of success.” 

The board’s conversation centered on each firm’s commitment to involving the community in conversations about the attributes needed in the next FCPS leader as well as its record of recruiting a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates. 

Greenwood/Asher & Associates highlighted its company commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, diverse team, regular training on implicit bias, and connections with diverse organizations across the nation. They also welcomed the board’s desire to not only have members of the search team meet with constituents, but to also have community groups host listening sessions. One tool they offer is a market research process to collect information from large groups of people and report it in an unbiased, organized way, which can be done in multiple languages. 

Both firms spoke highly of the Lexington-Fayette County community and its public schools, indicating that many leaders would be interested in serving as superintendent here. They shared that FCPS has a reputation nationally for high achieving students and innovative program offerings designed to meet the individual strengths of each learner. 

“We want to find someone who has a long-term commitment to you and the vision you have,” said Susanne Griffin, vice president and managing partner for Greenwood/Asher & Associates. “Looking at all of your data, your district is on an upward trend all the way. You have great MAP results, your ACT scores are up – there’s a whole lot to build upon. It would be an exciting district for a new superintendent to step into. Someone who wants to build on the momentum would be a great match for you.”

The board expects to approve a contract with Greenwood/Asher & Associates, which is a woman-owned firm, at their Feb. 11 planning meeting. The cost of the contract was still being negotiated. 

“We want to affirm the commitment of our entire board team to involve all stakeholders in this critical effort,” Murphy said. “Input from students, employees, families, and community members will be critical as we move forward.” 

The public will have a voice in the development of a candidate profile through surveys and focus groups, and will have the opportunity to participate in the interview process before the board makes a final decision. FCPS will share details on these opportunities and specific plans as the process unfolds.

(Posted Feb. 9, 2021) 

Lisa Deffendall, district spokeswoman
(859) 699-1441