The Wake County school board's superintendent search committee has backed hiring Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles to help conduct the search for a new search.
Heidrick & Struggles was backed Monday night over three cheaper firms. Heidrick is offering to do the search for $82,500 plus expenses while the N.C. School Boards Association was the cheapest at $15,000 plus expenses.
Debra Goldman, chairwoman of the board's superintendent search committee, said they were impressed by Heidrick & Struggles' expertise. Heidrick has been involved in superintendent searches such as Houston and Philadelphia.
Goldman said Heidrick will also conduct the next search for free if the new superintendent doesn't work out within the first year.
Goldman also said they felt that the School Boards Association has a political agenda and is seen as partisan. She said they wanted to bring in a firm that would be seen to be impartial.
Heidrick & Struggles has been accused of steering districts toward candidates who back charter schools and subcontracting to private agencies.
Goldman, Chris Malone and Deborah Prickett voted for Heidrich & Struggles. Carolyn Morrison, citing the higher cost, voted no.
The full board will vote on hiring the firm next Tuesday.
The board has been looking for a new superintendent since Del Burns announced in February he would resign effective June 30. Following negative public comments about the new board majority, Burns was placed on paid adminstrative leave on March 9.
Donna Hargens, the district's chief academic officer, has been serving as interim superintendent.