Thursday, October 11, 2018

So you want to be a Missouri Commissioner of Education

Applications for Missouri Commissioner of Education are being accepted through Friday, October 19.

The last time a commissioner search was held, two of the five finalists were former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff and former Joplin R-8 Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder. Eventually, Margie VanDeven was selected.

VanDeven was replaced as commissioner after former Gov. Eric Greitens stacked the State Board of Education with appointments who voted her out. Roger Dorson is currently serving as interim commissioner.

The following is the advertisement placed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

The Missouri State Board of Education is seeking highly motivated candidates for the position of Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

The commissioner serves as chief executive officer to the board and as director of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

This brochure provides a complete job description, qualifications and instructions for applicants and those wishing to nominate candidates. To guarantee full consideration, completed application packets and/or nominations must be received by October 19, 2018, 4:30 p.m. 

Applications should include a brief personal letter to the president of the State Board of Education expressing interest in the position and professional goals; a comprehensive resume detailing work experience, educational background, references and other relevant activities or accomplishments; and a two-page essay about the greatest issue facing Missouri education today. 

Nominations should include a brief personal letter to the president of the State Board of Education outlining how the nominee fits the qualifications for commissioner of education. J

Job Description 
Basic Responsibilities 

The commissioner supervises the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In fulfilling this responsibility, the commissioner will conform to the Missouri Constitution, the statutes of Missouri and the guidance and direction of the State Board of Education. 

The commissioner shall recruit and retain qualified and effective people to staff the department, understand the intricacies of budget and department finances, create an environment conducive to staff creativity, and exercise the power of the office for the benefit of all public schoolchildren in Missouri. In all activities, the commissioner will respect his/her role as the lead educational agent responsible for Missouri’s students. 

 Duties of the Commissioner 

• Assists the board in developing the vision, objectives and strategies that will establish clear direction for the department’s strategic priorities and lead the implementation of all programs and initiatives 

• Establishes an appropriate relationship with the State Board of Education, which includes listening to the board and forging consensus among board members 

• Demonstrates the ability to make decisions based on careful analysis of all variables as well as best policy and practice 

• Models behavior that adapts to thoughtful lay discussion of the issues, tolerates ambiguity, respects the diversity of individual board member’s views, and directs the staff as they assist the board in formulating direction and policy 

• Manages the process of communication with all interested groups and is personally effective in using the commissioner’s office to focus statewide efforts on strategic priorities established by the board 

• Establishes effective relationships with the governor and governor’s staff, members of the legislature, and other agencies’ directors, and uses these relationships to further the progress toward established goals and to promote the effective delivery of public education 

• Works effectively with members of the governor’s cabinet to implement the strategic priorities of the state 

• Works effectively with members of the General Assembly 

• Maintains an awareness of emerging educational trends and issues and evaluates the potential impact of such trends and issues in Missouri 

• Selects, trains, motivates, and supervises the deputy commissioners and other seniorlevel staff; develops the capacity of senior staff to maintain effective relationships with the board and implement the board’s vision 

• Leads the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, ensuring that the department provides appropriate service to the citizens of Missouri 

• Carries out all statutes and constitutional provisions related to public education and ensures that all students are fairly and equally served under the law 

• Oversees the proper distribution and monitoring of all funds administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 

The State Board of Education will appreciate and review any additional factors and/or characteristics to this list. 

1. Vision: Demonstrates ability to effectively articulate a vision and challenging goals that result in highly effective public education in Missouri 

2. Effective Team Building: Demonstrates accomplishment in assembling high-level people into an effective, goal-oriented, service-focused team who deliver quality services and high client satisfaction; works to build relationships and trust within the department and with professional constituencies partnering with the department in our education goals 

3. Empathy: Articulates an understanding of individual diversity and how to organize the department response to service all constituencies 

4. Earned Doctorate: Holds Ph.D. or Ed.D.; other appropriate successful experience will be given active consideration 

5. Student Achievement: Demonstrates understanding of the challenges associated with improving student achievement and the laws and systems that are intended to result in such improvement across all populations and possesses ability to clearly articulate a statewide commitment to this effort 

6. Leadership Experience with Large, Complex Organizations: Demonstrates ability and accomplishment in the following areas: 

• Employee selection, recruitment and development 

• Succession planning 

• Conflict resolution 

• Financial planning and the unique characteristics of state-level financing of public schools 

• Proficient in balancing multiple roles to ensure agency success, i.e., serving as member of governor’s cabinet, partnering with education-related organizations as well as nonprofit and community organizations, etc. 

7. Communication Skills: Possesses excellent written and oral communication skills 

8. Knowledge of Political Process: Demonstrates ability to advocate for and effectively represent the State Board’s positions 

9. Demonstrated Success: Demonstrates past success in the following areas: 

• Effective leadership of a large organization 

• Effective leadership with diverse constituencies 

• Goal setting and a track record of accomplishment 

10. Stakeholder Engagement: Is able to create and maintain an environment of collaboration and trust on behalf of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with stakeholders, including parents, education professionals, the general assembly, the governor and the public 

Characteristics of a Qualified Applicant/Nominee © 2018 MoDESE The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. Inquiries related to Department programs and to the location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible by persons with disabilities may be directed to the Jefferson State Office Building, Office of the General Counsel, Coordinator – Civil Rights Compliance (Title VI/ Title IX/504/ADA/Age Act), 6th Floor, 205 Jefferson Street, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480; telephone number 573-526-4757 or TTY 800-735-2966; email 

 Salary & Tenure Under state law (Section 161.112, RSMo), the State Board of Education “shall appoint a commissioner of education as its chief administrative officer.” Current salary is $191,544. 

Residency Requirement State law also specifies that the commissioner “shall be a citizen who has resided in the state for at least one year...” Based on opinions of the Missouri attorney general, however, the State Board of Education may select a non-Missouri resident and appoint the individual to serve as acting commissioner for one year, in order to fulfill the residency requirement.

 Confidentiality Applications will be held in confidence to the greatest extent possible throughout the selection process. The board cannot guarantee that the identity of applicants or finalists will remain confidential. 

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