By JUDY SHERIDAN
The Aledo School Board has decided to hire an outside firm to find a new superintendent and expects to pick that firm by early to mid-March, School Board President Bobby Rigues announced at a regular board meeting Feb. 18.
The announcement was followed by a plea from a former Coder Elementary assistant principal, who asked trustees to reconsider their decision and accept the responsibility for the choice themselves.
Trustees interviewed two search firms just prior to the board meeting, Rigues said, and will call another meeting soon to meet with a third firm.
He said the board accepted Superintendent Dan Manning’s resignation at a called meeting Feb. 11.
Manning, who is resigning for health reasons, will shoulder his current duties and responsibilities through June 28, Rigues said, in addition to helping select his successor.
Rigues said the board understands that choosing the top administrator is almost as important as the task of educating the district’s children.
He said the search process will “encompass input from all,” naming the administration, Aledo ISD staff and the community.
Margie Manthei, an assistant principal at Coder Elementary for the past four years — through May 2012 — recalled recent history, saying trustees voted to accept only internal candidates when Superintendent Don Daniel resigned.
“There was only one applicant, and that was Mr. Manning,” she said. “Now, just a little more than a year later, you’re willing to go outside the district for candidates, but you’re also looking at passing that responsibility on to a firm.
“You know Aledo ISD better than any firm.”
Manthei recommended that trustees ask the campus committees of the schools who “adopted” them this year for input. She said the district will attract outstanding candidates due to its reputation.
“Please reconsider your current plans of passing this incredible responsibility on to a paid outside firm,” she said.
In an interview later, Manthei said board members should lead by example rather than pay a search firm thousands of dollars.
“The bottom line is teachers have had to cut and cut,” she said. “When you see everyone saving every penny they can, it’s easier for you to donate your time.”