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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton Public Schools Board of Education members Andy Bonderer and Leah Baker lead a meeting concerning the district's superintendent search process. The search committee met Wednesday evening at Fulton Middle School. Photo by Quinn Wilson / Fulton Sun.

Fulton Public Schools' superintendent search committee held a meeting Wednesday evening at Fulton Middle School.

FPS school board members Andy Bonderer and Leah Baker updated a small group of community members in the middle school's library. The two announced current superintendent Jacque Cowherd's vacancy notice has been published and the district will begin accepting applications after Nov. 1.

"We are looking to have the new superintendent on staff by the end of (2019)," Bonderer said.

The committee members found various common traits people want in the next superintendent after speaking to employees at the district's buildings. Some of the themes included having firm financial knowledge as well as being approachable within the community.

"If you don't see them at Walmart, they're not a part of the community," Baker said.

Fulton resident Scott Lowe emphasized ensuring the next superintendent has a good understanding of the district's finances. He said there needs to be a difference between the roles of the assistant superintendent and the superintendent.

"It's great if (the new superintendent) can go into the buildings and do whatever people want them to do, but it's really important if that person has a really good grasp on the fiscal stuff," Lowe said.

Bonderer said that within FPS, the superintendent has traditionally worked on fiscal management oversight while the assistant will have a stronger emphasis working on curriculum. He added the district wants Cowherd's successor to be an "innovator" and able to "think outside the box."

"Staying status quo isn't really that effective this day in age," Bonderer said.

Fulton resident Melissa Siegel said the next superintendent needed to be a blend of being good at finances and good with the community. She said the district's last two superintendents have excelled in one area while lacking in the other.

"To lead us forward, the right candidate needs to be a blend of both; you'll have to replace the superintendent more often to make sure the ebbs and flows happen in shorter swings," Siegel said.

The two board members also announced that current assistant superintendent Ty Crane has expressed interest in the position.

FPS hired the Missouri Association of Rural Education earlier in October as the district's search firm. Baker said MARE will come up with a list of ideal candidates for FPS while the Board of Education will review each candidate individually.

According to MARE, applications will be accepted until Nov. 27 and interviews will take place tentatively between Dec. 9-20. Bonderer said while he does not know the exact selection process MARE will unfold, the board will have the final say in the decision.

"The person who comes in needs to fix the problems we have regardless of who caused them in the first place," Siegel said.

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