Aberdeen School Board begins search for new superintendent

The Aberdeen School Board on Tuesday took the first step to hire a new district superintendent after Tom Opstad announced he would be retiring at the end of this school year.

Board members want to secure a successor to Opstad by March, said Board President Sandra Bielski.

Even though it’s a short time line, Bielski assures there will be ample opportunities for student, district employees and the public to provide input during the hiring process.

“And that input is very important to us,” she said.

There will be public meetings and events before the final candidate is chosen where people can ask questions and offer their opinions.

People who can’t attend any of what Bielski expects will be numerous meetings can email or telephone board members with their thoughts, she emphasized.

After completing a work study session earlier in the afternoon, the board members decided during their regular meeting their first step is to find an executive search firm to help them recruit qualified candidates. The district will advertise a Request for Proposals from such contractors interested in working with the board to choose a new superintendent.

Board members will pick finalists for the job in the coming weeks. Review of the various search proposals will occur during a meeting on Nov. 21.

Once the board chooses a search firm, that contractor will assist them with such tasks as defining what qualifications candidates for the superintendent’s position need to lead the district and create a time line defining how the interview process is going to unfold.

The hiring process that brought Opstad to the district in 2010 had a significant amount of public involvement as well, Bielski said.

More sports added

The Board also approved the addition two team sports to the list of offerings within the district.

Girls’ Bowling will be available at Aberdeen High School.

Aaron Roiko, the district’s athletic director, told board members demand for the sport is high.

It will be available to students for as long as there is demand and enough money for the school to offer it, according to the board’s language in approving the addition.

There will also be six weeks of intramural basketball for boys and girls in fifth and sixth grades this year. This is a reinstatement of such team play.