The wait is almost over.
The Fort Wayne Community Schools board will introduce Superintendent Wendy Robinson's successor during a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday outside Grile Administrative Center.
This will follow a special 4 p.m. board meeting, during which the board will vote on the superintendent's contract.
No members of the public or media will be allowed in the downtown facility for the meeting due to safety concerns.
Board members have offered few clues about the new superintendent's identity, taking care in public meetings and interviews to refer to their pick as “the candidate” and avoiding gender-specific pronouns.
The proposed contract, however, suggests the next FWCS leader isn't someone local.
It includes a moving allowance of up to $10,000.
Withholding a superintendent's identity until a contract is approved is not unusual, said Michael Adamson, who leads the Indiana School Boards Association's superintendent search services.
He noted boards may vet applications, conduct interviews and negotiate contracts in executive sessions under Indiana's Open Door Law.
“I always advise that boards maintain strict confidentiality once the application period begins and until the approval of the superintendent's contract,” Adamson told The Journal Gazette in an email last week.
The nationwide search conducted by FWCS – aided by firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates – included limited public participation.
The consultants collected community input for a leadership profile of the desired candidate through almost 1,300 online surveys and from 202 people through interviews, focus groups and public meetings.
FWCS received 23 complete applications. The board interviewed six people and narrowed the choices to three finalists.
Board President Julie Hollingsworth told The Journal Gazette this month that the top choice was clear.
“I think we found a very qualified candidate that our community will embrace,” she said in a May 7 interview.
The proposed three-year agreement begins July 1 and includes a $215,000 annual base salary; a $20,000 annual annuity; a performance bonus of up to $10,000; cellphone and technology expenses; and an automobile allowance.
The board may approve up to five one-year extensions, but that doesn't necessarily mean the new superintendent would be gone after eight years, Hollingsworth said Monday, responding to a question during a public hearing on the contract.
“The length of employment is determined by the superintendent's desire to stay employed and the board's desire to keep them employed,” Hollingsworth said.
Robinson, for instance, will retire next month after leading FWCS for 17 years. Her final contract included a $210,164 annual base salary.
How to watch
What: Fort Wayne Community Schools board meeting
When: 4 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Watch on Comcast 54, Frontier 24, the FWCS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FWCommSchools, or the LTV2454 FWCS YouTube Channel
Why: School board is expected to approve the contract for the new superintendent