The cost of the year-long MCSD superintendent search - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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New MCSD superintendent salary and the cost of the year-long search

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Muscogee County Superintendent Finalist David Lewis Muscogee County Superintendent Finalist David Lewis
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

It took two search firms and thousands of dollars before the Muscogee County School Board found Superintendent Finalist David Lewis. He was unanimously voted in by the board Tuesday. In two weeks they will vote to officially hire him.

Currently, Lewis works as the Associate Superintendent for Learning and Teaching in Polk County, Florida. On Tuesday, he said he "was looking for the job... not a job" and thinks he's found it in Muscogee County.

Lewis has many plans for the district if hired, including increasing graduation rates and addressing the performance gap. "I want to compare Muscogee, not only with like districts, but my goal would be to see if we could aspire to be above other districts similar to our own in demographics."

Board Chair Rob Varner said the entire board liked Lewis when they met him in late June. "I think the board said from the very beginning that we were not going to be constricted by timeline, but we were going to wait until we found the very best candidate which I think we did."

The district where Lewis works serves 95,000 students, which is nearly three times more than Muscogee County's 32-thousand. In March of this year, Lewis sought the superintendent's job in Polk County, but didn't get it. "Sure I was disappointed. I don't think anybody...when you apply for a position and you're not selected you're disappointed."

The job went to a chief academic officer from Duvall County, Florida and pays $225,000 a year. Muscogee county school officials won't reveal how much Lewis would get paid, until he's officially hired.

The last full-time superintendent had a base salary of $170,000. Interim Superintendent Dr. John Phillips makes about $8,500 a month.

It's taken a year and the school board has spent nearly $60,000 looking for a new superintendent after Former Superintendent Dr. Susan Andrews resigned last year after three and a half years of service.

The Georgia School Boards Association, or GSBA, didn't participate in Muscogee County's search, but said their average superintendent search time is just six months. The most expensive search they've conducted was only $10,000 plus expenses.

Varner said comparing those numbers with Muscogee County is like apples and oranges. "[We're] clearly one of the largest districts in the state. so just by default most of their searches are probably of smaller districts. Would I have liked to have spent less money? Of course I would. Do I wish David Lewis had come along six months instead of three weeks ago?  Of course."

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