JCPS looks to hire search firm to help fill top central office j - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS looks to hire search firm to help fill top central office jobs

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JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens (WDRB News file photo) JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens (WDRB News file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools is seeking the help of a "qualified executive search firm" to help with the recruitment of various top-level central office positions.

The district issued a request for proposal for an executive search firm to "assist in selecting the most qualified individuals for executive/mid-level positions" on Aug. 26 with a closing date of Friday, Sept. 11, but the RFP has been extended to 3 p.m. on Sept. 14.

According to the proposal, "individuals occupying executive/mid-level management positions usually work closely with and report directly to the superintendent and/or cabinet level administrators of the district and are responsible for the operation of particular departments and/or areas within the structure of JCPS."

Superintendent Donna Hargens has been looking to fill three cabinet-level positions for months. Those include: chief business officer, chief communications and community relations officer and  chief of data management. She has also been searching for a new director of human resources.

Bonnie Hackbarth, a spokeswoman for JCPS, said Friday the district has received a "number of applications" for the various open positions.

"We want to hire a search firm to evaluate existing applicants and recruit additional applicants," Hackbarth said.

The proposal specifically mentions top-level jobs in operations, business services, human resources, communications, data management and academic support services, among others.

"The recruitment contractor shall assist the district in its effort to build a diverse pool of qualified applicants for executive/mid-level positions on an as needed basis," the proposal states. "The contractor will work with the superintendent or their designee to tailor the search for such positions in a manner that will build the number of qualified individuals in the applicant pool."

The creation of the chief business officer was part of a central office reorganization Hargens announced in April that also including plans to outsource the district's legal department.

A lack of stability in the district's communications and human resources departments has been an issue for Hargens.

The Jefferson County Board of Education has repeatedly asked Hargens to improve both internal and external communications in the district, as well as give her "immediate attention" to the human resources department.

During her last evaluation in June, board members said they wanted to see "focused efforts to proactively communicate, externally and internally, with our community the accomplishments of JCPS students and the extraordinary work of JCPS staff."

Board members also told Hargens that fixing human resources needed to be a top priority.

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Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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