The ladder of success should be clearly defined for the Ottawa school district’s next top administrator.

The new superintendent of Ottawa schools would be required to demonstrate strong leadership qualities and be an effective communicator — among other attributes — to meet the seven primary responsibilities set out in a proposed job description.  

Ottawa school board members generally agreed Monday about what the new superintendent’s job description should entail.

The draft version states: “The superintendent is to provide leadership in developing and maintaining the best possible educational programs and services. The degree of freedom to act, within the limits of statute and policy, is broad.”

The job description details seven areas of emphasis for which the superintendent would be evaluated. In broad terms, those seven responsibilities are:

• The superintendent oversees safe and orderly schools.

• The superintendent ensures student achievement for all student groups.

• The superintendent builds positive school/community relations.

• The superintendent leads the board in developing constructive board/superintendent relations.

• The superintendent oversees effective and efficient staff performance.

• The superintendent practices responsible fiscal, facility and resource management.

• The superintendent models positive professional attributes.

Several bullet points accompanied each of the seven areas of emphasis, explaining the superintendent’s performance objectives in more detail.

“I think this job description is pretty in-depth,” Brian Kane, board member, said.

Kane and David White, board member, said they thought the job description provided some good “indicators” that can be used to determine if the superintendent had successfully met those objectives when it came time for an annual performance evaluation.

Former Superintendent Dean Katt stepped down with little explanation March 1, following a brief executive session. A settlement agreement between the board and the former superintendent prevents either side from discussing the reasons for his departure. Katt will remain on the school district payroll through Oct. 31 as a consultant.

Representatives of the Topeka-based Kansas Association of School Boards, which has been hired by the Ottawa board to conduct the superintendent search, plan to present a list of finalists — who have been fully vetted — to the school board April 15. The board would then decide how many candidates on that list it would bring in for interviews.

The job description also listed the “knowledge, skills and abilities” the successful superintendent candidate must bring to the district. Those requirements included:

• A valid district-level certificate issued by the Kansas State Board of Education.

• Ability to work cooperatively and constructively with others, including the ability to communicate effectively with broad and diverse audiences.

• Ability to handle a fast-paced, intense work environment.

• Ability to manage job responsibilities and meet the established district outcomes.

• Ability to hold a valid Kansas driver’s license, drive at night and travel on short notice.

• Ability to sit for long periods of time.

• Ability to work 60-plus hours weekly.

Bill Allegre, school board member, said he thought the overall job description was good, and he liked that it outlined the seven primary responsibilities the superintendent would be charged with fulfilling.

The school board is expected to take formal action on the job description at its April 22 meeting, as it moves closer to the interviewing process.