Pegged to the leadership turnover in Montgomery County* in the WaPo Jay Mathews comes down hard on superintendent searches. Boards often benefit from a consultant to help manage the process but I agree with him on the value – or more specifically the lack of – with full-blown school district superintendent searches. We don’t do them at Bellwether except in very unusual circumstances because you can do them well (customized/tailored) or you can do them in a way that is break-even or profitable (list of usual suspects). It’s hard to do both.
On the other hand, Jay makes a good case about candidates for this role, but I don’t find hard and fast lines about internal or external candidates especially useful. Leadership roles like this are situational and vary situation to situation.
*Jay’s greasing of Montgomery County is a little over the top though! These large suburban school systems are never as “world class” as their world class PR machines would have you believe.