Students, teachers, administrators and local business owners had the chance to provide input on the hiring of a new superintendent at Lake Travis ISD during a series of focus groups Feb. 27.
Superintendent Brad Lancaster announced his official plans for retirement Oct. 18, with his last day with the district scheduled for July 1.
Following his announcement, LTISD contracted services from Houston-based law firm Thompson & Horton LLP to aid in the search process.
This is not the first time the district has received assistance through the firm, according to Marco Alvarado, LTISD's director of communications media and community relations.
Search consultants Mike Moses and David Thompson worked alongside the district in 2012 during the hiring process of Lancaster, and according to Thompson LTISD has already received a great deal of interest in the newly open position.
Moses and Thompson emphasized that the firm’s role in the superintendent search is to facilitate a process to put the board is a strong position to make a decision. Ultimately, the district will be making the decisions.
Thompson said the process is still in the application and advertising phase, with the board receiving applications until March 13. He added that a majority of applications tend to come in closer to the deadline.
“We’re getting great interest,” Thompson said. “This is an outstanding district; we do expect that the board will have an excellent group of individuals to look at.”
The board of trustees is scheduled to meet March 23 to review all applications and prepare for the multiround interview process. Thompson stated that typically the district will interview about five to seven individuals in the first round.
Barring any issues, the board will be in a position to name a lone finalist by May, who will be functioning in the role by July 1.
Stressing civic engagement, it is important for the district to hear what the community is looking for in a superintendent, Thompson said.
The focus groups serve that purpose, with each board member nominating members of the community, including LTISD students, to participate. The groups consist of about 14 to 18 people with all comments collected anonymously. The district has also released an online, anonymous survey on the topic.
The open dialogue highlights certain thematic concerns and interests within the community. Thompson said he does not believe the district will learn anything surprising; however, it is important the community is heard.
Growth remains the largest priority among residents. LTISD is a fast-growing district with annual enrollment increases and an elementary school opening in August.
“You need somebody who is conversant with the type of community they’re moving into,” Thompson said.
It is equally important that candidates understand the expectations of the community, according to Thompson, adding LTISD is an extremely high-performing district in terms of academics, athletics and more.
“When you have success, you want to build on your success, that’s natural,” Thompson said. “You keep building.”