Linking Great Leaders with Local Schools

Superhero Kids photoWhat does it take to be a successful school district Superintendent? Leadership, kindness, the ability to interact with others, knowledge of education, strong financial/budgeting skills, and more. 

“If you’re going to be a Superintendent, you need strong leadership skills and a passion for making a difference,” commented Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director of IU13. During this past year, four area school districts seeking their new “CEO” selected IU13 to provide guidance and support in this critical process: Conestoga Valley School District (SD), Eastern Lebanon County SD, Lebanon SD, and Northern Lebanon SD.

The fact that these districts asked for support with the search process was significant for IU13. This marks the beginning of a new way the IU can serve our local communities. Through each of the searches, IU13 staff worked closely with the respective school boards and communities, and established relationships with applicants striving to be the next educational leader. These relationships will grow as the new superintendents (a.k.a. “the new leaders”) take the helm … and IU13 will continue helping along the way through monthly Superintendent Advisory Councils, professional development sessions, and more.

“Selecting the incoming Superintendent is arguably one of the most important decisions that a Board will make,” stated Barnhart. The Superintendent serves as the leader of the school, working daily to support the students, staff, and community within the district. The position is challenging with long -- and sometimes difficult -- days, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to work to support the educational needs of the K-12 student population. “The Boards were picking the next leader for their students and community. They understood the importance of the decision and the impact it would have on their community. Each handled it with care!”

Each district handled the process a little bit differently based on their community needs. IU13 worked with the respective district's Board of School Directors (Board) to assist with promoting the search, conducting community forums, reviewing surveys, vetting candidates, and guiding the Board through the review and interview phases with applicants. The actual hiring decisions were made by each school district's Board.

For the 2017-2018 school year, five area school districts have new Superintendents: Dr. David Zuilkoski with Conestoga Valley, Dr. Michael Lausch with Donegal, Mrs. Julia Vicente with Eastern Lebanon County, Dr. Arthur Abrom with Lebanon, and Dr. Erik Bentzel with Northern Lebanon. IU13 assisted with four of the five districts (Donegal SD promoted from within) to conduct the search, negotiate the contract, and establish a transition plan. And IU13 was recently asked to facilitate the search for the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center’s next Executive Director.

In addition to helping schools through the search process, IU13 stands ready to support these new leaders in their new role. In the coming months, IU13 is planning to launch a new Act 45 Training for newly appointed and/or aspiring Superintendents. Barnhart shares, “We are here to serve and support our school districts. Helping them find their next education leader is a privilege.”  

For more information, please contact IU13 Corporate Communications.