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Search Firm Won't Charge School District to Find Fred Clarke's Replacement

The consultants who helped the Rochester Board of Education find a superintendent last year had a one-year retention guarantee they are willing to honor, board president says.

The search firm that helped hire Superintendent Fred Clarke last year will help the school district find his replacement at no charge, school board president Jennifer Berwick announced Monday night.

The news came at the end of a 15-minute Board of Education meeting that Clarke did not attend. He was with Grant Public Schools on the west side of the state.

Clarke in an email message to Rochester parents last week. 

He has not resigned. However, because his intentions are clear, the Board of Education is moving forward in finding his replacement, Berwick said. On Monday night Berwick and board members Lisa Nowak and Jane Pierobon agreed to form a Transition Committee. The committee will work with Clarke on a timeline for him to finish up his duties in Rochester. The committee will also work to appoint an interim superintendent and, eventually, a superintendent search team.

Berwick has been in touch with School Exec Connect, the search firm hired to help the board replace retiring Superintendent Dave Pruneau last year.  

The firm's base fee was $19,500. The agreement with School Exec Connect dated Dec. 4, 2010, states that a new search will be conducted at no cost to the board if the superintendent resigns or is dismissed within 12 months of starting. 

Clarke started work for the district July 1, 2011. Berwick said on Monday that School Exec Connect, based in Illinois, "has indicated they will honor that provision with reasonable latitude beyond the 12-month deadline."

The district would still pay School Exec Connect the cost of expenses and of advertising the position; those fees were projected at between $7,000 and $9,000. 

Berwick said she is confident that the leaders in the school district —including the principals, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting — would continue to carry on the tradition of excellence in Rochester Schools.

"We will have a strong start to the year," Berwick said. "There are many exciting things happening."

dk July 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Two points. First, Clark should be the one paying for it. Second, they already have an eminently qualified internal candidate. Bringing in another outsider to waste money on while they find the bathroom (again) is ridiculous. This whole incident points out that whatever problems the District has start at the top. A school board that doesn't recognize and reward qualified employees and administrators who think it is perfectly fine to take a job and then bail on it are two great examples of bad leadership. Firing a "bad" teacher is not as difficult as the champions of charter schools would like you to believe. All it takes is documentation, a pattern, and administrators who are willing to do their job. Enough of this. Hire the internal candidate and get to work.
Dave Duncanson July 31, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Why not just hire Geraldine Moore and be done with it? She was the runner up and is still available. There is no need for further convulsions.
Chris July 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I agree! Hire Geraldine Moore! Please read the above 2 posts again, school board. Please listen to the tax paying public who voted for you....
Rochester Hills Resident July 31, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I completely agree with previous posts -- Geraldine Moore is more than qualified and is beyond committed. I bet she probably has even been doing most of this job this past year as Clarke was new to the area, district and county and likely relied on her for a tremendous amount as he learned (or didn't learn) the position.
RS July 31, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Geraldine Moore was passed up twice now and I bet they do it again!
Marianne Maurer July 31, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Geraldine Moore has more then proved herself as a strong instructional leader as well as someone who can operate under the pressure of ever changing state mandates. She relies on a well informed group of Adminstrators and Principals to make decision making fair and effective for the students of RCS. I urge the BOE to give her a year to prove her worth before they take on yet another search. Our students deserve strong leadership and stability now. Mrs. Moore has provided that and can continue to do so.
Sherry July 31, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I think that is great news regarding the consulting fee!
Patti smith August 02, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Gerri Moore is an amazing leader. She makes herself visible to the schools, and as the last interim superintendent, she has proven that this District runs smoothly with her at the helm. Let's save that $8,000 and go with an already known entity.
Rochester Mom September 18, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Totally agree with "oakland"!

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