Overview of Superintendent Search

  • Saint Paul Public Schools is searching for a new superintendent.

    Dr. John Thein is currently serving as the interim superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). In July 2016, he replaced Valeria S. Silva -- who served as superintendent for the last seven years of her 30-year career in the district. 

    The Board of Education represents the public’s interests and values in district decisions and is responsible for hiring a new superintendent. The Board officially began the process to find the district's leader on Oct. 18, 2016.


    Community Engagement

    A collaborative public engagement process was created in partnership with the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) and the Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law (DRI). A Design Team was created - a committee comprised of students, parents, community members, district leaders, the school board and union bargaining groups.

    The team met frequently to plan how best to gather feedback from the community. They created four community meetings and a survey that was used to help identify the qualities of a superintendent that are most important to the public. Feedback from families, staff, students, diverse communities and partners was used in two different ways.

       To identify the top qualities the community is looking for in a new superintendent to assist in recruitment of candidates.

        To inform the Board and influence their decision on finalists, and ultimately their selection for superintendent.


    SPPS and its search firm, Ray and Associates, also conducted a survey between Dec. 15, 2016 and Jan. 23, 2017. Results from that survey was included in a Superintendent Profile - a document used to recruit the right candidates.


    Search Firm

    During a special Committee of the Board meeting, the Board agreed to hire Ray and Associates, Inc. to conduct the search for a new superintendent. The Board voted to approve the hiring of Ray and Associates to conduct the search for a new superintendent during a regular Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016.
    The contract with Ray and Associates, Inc. was finalized in December.
    The search firm worked closely with the Design Team to ensure broad community engagement. The feedback gathered from the public helped inform the superintendent search process in collaboration with Ray and Associates, Inc.


    Finalist Selection Process
    The Board worked with search firm Ray and Associates and its community engagement partners (the Bureau of Mediation Services and the Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell-Hamline School of Law) to conduct two surveys, four community meetings and numerous feedback sessions with stakeholder groups to identify the qualities the community considers most important in the next superintendent.

    The search firm presented to the Board 13 semifinalists (of 67 applicants) who met the criteria established by community feedback. Each board member reviewed application materials and used a comparison process to rank the candidates. The search firm then evaluated all responses through a scoring system and chose the three finalists.

Overview Documents