Forest Park School District 91 Superintendent Randolph Tinder will be stepping down as superintendent in 2007, and the process of finding a replacement is just beginning to get underway.

At last Thursday’s school board meeting meeting, the board heard from Art Jones and Barbara Ramsey from the firm of Hazard, Young and Attea (HYA) to discuss the superintendent search process. HYA is an educational consulting firm that provides executive search, board governance and training and professional development services.

After hearing from Jones and Ramsey, the board voted unanimously to hire HYA to find Tinder’s replacement. Jones, a former superintendent of District 91 who is now director of Forest Park National Bank and president of the Main Street Redevelopment Association, has a vested interest in finding a quality candidate.

“Obviously, we have a sincere interest in choosing the best superintendent for Forest Park,” said Jones, a Senior Associate with HYA who has been involved with the firm since 1994. “Our goal is to set up a calendar so we have a specific time frame to find a candidate. We plan on concentrating on finding the most attractive candidate for Forest Park. We want the board to be very involved in the selection process.”

The cost of the employing HYA will be $12,000, according to Tinder. In addition HYA may employ a private firm to complete background checks on each of the finalists chosen for the superintendent position. Each background check would cost $750.

According to Jones, Ramsey most recently worked as a superintendent in Homewood, and is currently working as an interim principal at a middle school in Glenview. Jones said that HYA also intends to involve Joan Levy, a former board member at the New Trier High School District and Winnetka Elementary School District and former president of the Illinois Association of School Boards, in the search process.

A planning meeting will be held sometime in the near future during which the board will instruct the firm on exactly how it will proceed with the search, said Jones.

Typically, he said, the firm hosts several focus groups for stakeholders including parents, community leaders, board members and faculty, and uses the feedback it receives to create a “leadership profile” detailing the characteristics desired in the district’s next superintendent.

A form is also usually sent out to parents and posted on the district’s website which can be filled out to contribute to the creation of the profile, which is eventually voted on by the school board.

Board member Frank Mott welcomed HYA, but insisted that Tinder keep a distance from the search process. HYA was also the firm that found Tinder for the district, and in January Tinder became an associate with the firm, though he said the school board had expressed its desire to employ HYA for the search long before he had signed on.

Though he hasn’t done any work for HYA yet, Tinder acknowledged that “at some point down the road I’ll be doing the exact same thing for HYA that (Jones and Ramsey) are going to do here.”

He said he had no problem with the request that he distance himself from the Dist. 91 superintendent search.

At the meeting, Tinder was also honored for his new role as president of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

He will assume presidential duties on July 1, before entering his last year as Dist. 91 superintendent. Despite the added duties, Dr. Walter Warfield, the executive director of the IASA, has faith Tinder will perform well in both jobs.

“His plate will be very full, but I am certain he will continue to exceed expectations in both positions,” he said at last week’s board meeting. “The honor of being elected president of the board is very special. First, a person must be elected to the 26-member board and then those board members in turn vote for a president. So really, Dr. Tinder will be a leader among leaders.”

Warfield also presented Tinder with a presidential ring at the April 13 meeting to signify his acceptance into the select group of IASA presidents.

“It truly is an honor to be nominated by my peers to this position,” Tinder said. “My goal is to continue to improve the visibility of the organization and uphold the honor of being president of such a noteworthy body. My duties will be to moderate the joint annual conference and represent the organization the best I can. I expect to be noticeably busier, but not so much that it will affect my duties as superintendent of Forest Park.”

Board member Glenn Garlisch, also a member of the village’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, was absent from the meeting because of the termination hearing for Forest Park Police Sgt. Dan Harder, which also convened on Thursday night. Board member Steve Johnsen, a lieutenant with the police department who was scheduled to testify in the hearing, also did not attend.