The Superintendent Search Committee was created by the Portland Board of Public Education this fall to spearhead the search for a new superintendent to lead the district after Superintendent Xavier Botana steps down. The Search Committee voted on Nov. 22 to recommend Alma Advisory Group as the best firm to aid in the superintendent search. Alma Advisory Group is a professional search firm whose work aligns with the central equity goal of the Portland Promise, the district’s strategic plan. The Board on Dec. 6 voted to contract with Alma Advisory Group for the search.
Alma Advisory Group is led by women of color and is a non-traditional firm focused on organizational capacity building and equity and diversity in hiring, so is a good fit with the mission of the Portland Public Schools. The firm recently completed superintendent searches for the Denver Public Schools, the Cincinnati Public Schools, and Eugene School District 4. It uses competency-based screening processes to mitigate bias and stay grounded in the skills most important to the role.
The Search Committee, made up of eight community members from a variety of stakeholder groups and five Board members, currently is designing the first phase of the search process, which will engage many more members of the community. This will include multiple small focus groups and 2 to 3 large community gatherings, where community members will be able to give input on the role and the steps of the selection process.
The goal is to select and onboard a new superintendent who will be able to fully take the reins of the district by July 1, 2023. Alma’s $48,000 fee will be paid out of the Board’s contingency fund.