• Process
  • Consultant Team
  • Testimonials
  • References

There are six phases in MSBA’s comprehensive search process. These six phases incorporate the Missouri Superintendent Standards that convey the expectations of performance for professional superintendents in Missouri.

1. Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment
Strategies to obtain community input and set a positive tone will be developed and implemented by the search team. An optional online survey is available for districts to post on their website or email a link to designated persons or groups within the school district. This is a valuable tool to gather input from a large number and range of constituents letting them know their opinions and preferences matter while empowering Boards to evaluate the needs of the school district and candidate qualifications.

2. Implement an effective plan for candidate recruitment/advertisement
Advertise widely throughout Missouri, the Midwest and nationally through numerous marketing tools including social media. Annually 400 – 500 candidates apply through MSBA searches.

3. Systematically evaluate candidates
The search will be tailored for your district, board and community’s unique needs.

4. Develop your Board of Education’s interview techniques
Assist board in developing a set of interview questions based on the needs assessment; provide written guidelines and protocols to ensure fair, informative, and comprehensive interviews; and provide a selection matrix to assist in gaining board consensus.

5. Provide assistance with the employment process
The consultant will provide organizational assistance, initial reference checking, salary and benefit suggestions, if requested.

6. Conduct teambuilding activities for the new leadership team
Following placement of the superintendent, the School Board may consider a free MSBA workshop Effective Practices for Positive Board and Superintendent Relations.

Following a structured time line, MSBA is able to focus the board’s time on evaluating needs of the school district and candidate qualifications.

MSBA has a very talented team of search consultants –both as practicing superintendents and consultants; and provide outstanding leadership throughout the search process. The consultant team has over 200 years of combined educational experience of which over 120 of those years were in an administrative position.

Dr. Paul James, MSBA Lead Consultant, served 34 years as an educator in Missouri schools, 20 of those as a superintendent of schools. He served as President of the Missouri Association of School Administrators and was the 2000 Missouri Superintendent of the Year. Dr. James also served as President of the Mid-America Association of School Superintendents (MAASS) in 2001. He continues as an active member of the MAASS and the Midwest Superintendents Association. He was also active in the American Association of School Administrators. Dr. James received his B.S. and M.Ed. from Northeast Missouri State University and his Ed. Spec. and Ed.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. John Boise was in public education for 33 years and served as a superintendent of schools for 30 years. He was superintendent of the Warsaw School District for 28 years. During that time, the district placed numerous tax levy increases and bond issue proposals on the ballot. Dr. Boise holds the distinction of passing each proposal to the public on the first ballot. Prior to his service in education, he was a captain in the U.S. Army and spent a tour of duty in Vietnam. He earned his B.S., M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Jeanie Gordon served 31 years in Missouri public schools, 21 of those as superintendent of schools of which the last 16 were in the New Franklin R-I School District. Dr. Gordon has been active in the Missouri Association of School Administrators, serving on the MASA Executive Committee for six years and serving as President of the Northeast Missouri MASA District. During her career, she mentored several new superintendents, provided internship supervision for aspiring superintendents, and worked with the University of Missouri to redesign its graduate programs in educational administration. She recently retired as the Chief Membership Officer of the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

Dr. Gordon was one of the founding members, a member of the Executive Committee, and President of the Governing Board for the MU Partnership of Educational Renewal in the College of Education. She was appointed to the first MOREnet Advisory Board as the K-12 representative by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a position she held for six years. Dr. Gordon has served as a member of task forces on virtual instruction and rural education for the US Department of Education. She has been actively involved in the Rural Schools and Community Trust foundation in its work with rural school districts, primarily in Missouri as well as many western and southeastern states. Her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Education were earned at Northeast (Truman) State University; she holds a M. Ed in Psychology and Counseling from Stephens College; and her Ed. Spec. and Ed. D. degrees in Education Administration were earned at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Brent Underwood served 29 years as an educator in schools in Missouri. His career reflects a consistent pattern of accomplishment as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, and superintendent. Since 1985, Dr. Underwood has held a number of administrative positions in schools in the metropolitan area of St. Louis; for nine years during that period, Dr. Underwood was superintendent in the Webster Groves Public Schools--one of the nation’s most progressive school systems. Among Dr. Underwood’s awards and honors was his selection by his peers in 2009 as a nominee for the Pearce Award as Outstanding Missouri Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Underwood holds a B.S. degree from William Jewell College, an M.S. degree from Northwest Missouri State University, and an Ed.D. degree from St. Louis University.

Dr. Jerry L. Waddle served 41 years as an educator in Missouri. After retiring from the superintendency, he became the director of the Southeast Regional Professional Development Center at Southeast Missouri State University where he was appointed an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling in 2000. He also serves as Coordinator of the Cooperative Ed.D. program with the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Waddle is a former president of the Southeast Missouri Superintendents and member of the executive committee of the Missouri Association of School Administrators. Dr. Waddle completed his undergraduate education at Southeast Missouri State University and earned his M.Ed. at the University of Mississippi and Ed.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Robert Watkins spent 23 years as a central office administrator in the Independence Schools including superintendent from 1991-99 during his 34 year career in public education. Dr. Watkins was active in the American Association of School Administrators, the Mid-American Association of School Superintendents, the Midwest Superintendents Association, and the Missouri Association of School Administrators. He currently is the Director of the Kansas and Missouri Superintendents Forum sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas Health Foundation. Dr. Watkins is a senior fellow, Yale Bush Center at New Haven Connecticut. He has served as Dean of Graduate studies at Park University and a visiting Community Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Watkins completed his undergraduate work at Southwest Missouri State University and earned his M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“The MSBA consultants were amazing! I was on the board when another former superintendent retired, and this process was much smoother! We appreciated their help, and I would highly recommend them to anyone.”
Warsaw R-IX Board Member

“We conducted our own search 3 years ago and the difference between the 2 is night and day. In our search we only received the information that the candidates wanted us to have. The plethora of information we received from MSBA made choosing the finalists a much easier process. From start to finish the MSBA representatives were helpful and professional.“
South Harrison R-II Board Member

“Communication was great. John Boise & Paul James did a great job. I would recommend anyone to use your service.”
Warsaw R-IX Board Member

“The board found this to be of immense value and would recommend you to any board when selecting a superintendent. Bob Watkins did an outstanding job for us. We were extremely pleased.”
Polo R-VII Board Member

“Brent did an amazing job. This was a tough process but his involvement kept me confident the whole way through. HIGHLY Recommended!”
Orchard Farm Board Member

“Dr. Waddle was a superb consultant. He kept in contact with the Board and offered support and advice.”
Farmington R-VII Board Member

“The majority of our current board has gone through two superintendent hiring’s in the last 5 years. The first one was without the benefit of MSBA’s Search and the most recent experience was with MSBA. I would never want to go through a search without the assistance of MSBA again. Dr. Watkins was wonderful.”
Bolivar R-I Board Member

“Dr. James was professional and gave us plenty advice to help us arrive at a sound decision.”
Stanberry R-II Board Member

“Thank you for assisting us in finding a superintendent that will lead our district for years to come. Great Service to use!!!”
Smithville R-II Board Member

“Thank you for your service. Jerry did a great job with a short time frame.”
Farmington R-VII Board Member

“Mr. Boise was very professional and kept me updated on a weekly basis. He’s a valuable asset to MSBA. He really did his research to bring to the board the personnel for us to discuss & those that have the school in its best interest. He wants the school district to have the best they can to lead them in a positive direction.”
Crane R-III Board Member

“Dr. Underwood helped make a very daunting task much more simple. His insight and knowledge were what we needed to narrow down our search.”
Orchard Farm Board Member

“Dr. Brent Underwood, the District’s search consultant, did an outstanding job. He was meticulous in his work, collaborated with assigned District personnel in a positive manner, kept the Special Administrative Board fully informed as the search process unfolded and expended a great deal of time in researching and interviewing candidates to ensure that the District had an ample number of qualified candidates from which to choose.”
Riverview Gardens Special Administrative Board Member

“Excellent service! What a time savings! This service was very professional and helpful. Thanks!”
Maries Co. R-II Board Member

“Thank you very much!! Dr. Bob Watkins was excellent.”
West Platte R-II Board Member

“Dr. Brent Underwood did an excellent job as our search consultant. He spent considerable time keeping the Board informed and updated.”
Riverview Gardens Special Administrative Board Member

“The range of applicants and their quality reflects well on MSBA and John Boise as well. I was very satisfied with the pre-screening and the overall process.”
Salem R-80 Board Member

Superintendent Search Clients from 2010 through 2015
The following reference list shows MSBA’s Superintendent Search clients and the Board of Education President during their search process. A complete reference list since 1988 is available upon request from the MSBA office.

District  Enrolled  Successful Candidate  Began Position  Reference
 Adrian R-III  719  Dr. Don Lile II  7/14 Mr. David Knuth
816-297-8727
 Affton 101  2,455  Dr. Steve Brotherton  7/11 Mr. Ron Becher
314-842-5155
 Ava R-I  1,446  Mr. Brian Wilson  7/10 Mr. Jeffory Davis
417-683-4508

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