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Search firm out of Nebraska engaged to...

Search firm out of Nebraska engaged to find next Mississippi State Superintendent of Education

By: Anne Summerhays - June 30, 2022

McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, has placed over 750 superintendents and other officials in public, non-profit organizations across the U.S.

On Monday, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) announced that they had selected McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, headquartered out of Nebraska to lead the search for the next State Superintendent of Education.

The announcement of the search firm follows Dr. Carey Wright’s announcement in April that she would retire effective today, June 30, 2022, after more than eight years as Mississippi’s State Superintendent.

Earlier this month, the State Board of Education appointed Dr. Kim Benton to be the interim State Superintendent of Education effective July 1.

McPherson & Jacobson will conduct a national search beginning July 1 for applicants who meet SBE requirements. The State Board of Education said that they anticipate interviewing the top candidates in October and the new superintendent is expected to start in the position by January 2023.

According to their website, McPherson & Jacobson is one of the leading national superintendent search firms and has been conducting national searches for boards of education since 1991. They have placed over 750 superintendents as well as other officials in public and non-profit organizations across the United States.

Their stated mission is to “ensure your search results in quality leadership for education excellence.”

“McPherson & Jacobson has over 100 consultants located across the nation. Almost one-third of McPherson & Jacobson consultants are minorities or female,” the website noted. “Our consultants have extensive backgrounds in education and public service including current and former superintendents, assistant superintendents, university professors, and school board members. Almost sixty percent have a doctorate degree. This expertise ensures your search results in quality leadership for education excellence.”

When it comes to superintendent searches, McPherson & Jacobson has designed a five-phase protocol allowing the board to concentrate on the most important segments in the process, that being the interview and selection of the successful candidate.

“Our team of consultants, working in conjunction with the board and stakeholder groups the district identifies, will implement a systematic, comprehensive process culminating in the hiring of the most qualified candidate for your district,” the search firm’s website continued.

Their hiring process is outlined below:

  • Phase I
    • Identify the desirable characteristics of the future superintendent.
    • Establish appropriate timelines.
    • Determine advertising venues.
  • Phase II
    • Meet with designated stakeholder groups.
    • Advertise the vacancy and develop promotional materials.
    • Send out, receive, and catalog all application materials
    • Actively recruit applicants.
  • Phase III
    • Read and evaluate all completed applicant files.
    • Conduct complete reference checks.
    • Assist the board members in selecting final candidates to be interviewed.
  • Phase IV
    • Prepare the board for the interview process.
    • Schedule and coordinate interviews.
    • Keep all candidates informed of their status in the selection process.
  • Phase V
    • Establish performance objectives for the superintendent.
    • Provide a Guarantee.
  • Additional Services
About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: