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Search Firms Flock Evermore to AASA’s Superintendent Job Fair in San Diego

AASA Job Fair

Seventeen organizations that conduct executive-level searches for school boards will be represented at a superintendent job fair at the 2020 AASA National Conference on Education in San Diego.

The job fair takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, in Room 6-E of the convention center in San Diego.

The roster of participating search firms reflects an increase of two over last year and a gain of five search firms since 2018. The search firm lineup includes the largest national companies involved in superintendent searches as well as the search arms of state school board associations.

The two newcomers this year are J.G. Consulting and the Alaska Association of School Boards.

The Alaskan representative, Richard Carlson, said his organization was returning to the job fair after years of absence in hopes of attracting interest in superintendent candidates. He’ll be looking to fill four vacancies for school boards in his state.

“It has been challenging getting qualified candidates to apply for superintendent positions. And yes, the challenges are even greater for our remote locations,” Carlson says. “However, we are hopeful that we can increase the awareness of the great opportunities both professionally and personally Alaska has to offer. We often find that many professional educators come to Alaska for a year or two for the great Alaskan experience but find a home and stay a lifetime.”

On the eve of this year’s AASA event, Conference Daily Online interviewed the job fair’s coordinator, Lora Wolff, a faculty member at Western Illinois University.

Q. Is the increased involvement by superintendent search consultants a reflection of either the challenge of finding qualified superintendent candidates or the value of the AASA job fair itself?

Wolff: With Boomers retiring, I think there will continue to be a large number of vacancies for the next 5-10 years.

Q. Does the job fair at the conference play an important role for both the firms hired to fill vacancies and the individuals who are considering new job opportunities? 

Wolff: Definitely.  For some firms and candidates, it is a long-standing relationship.

Q. How many potential candidates did you count at the 2019 job fair?

Wolff: My best estimate is over 200. I often get so busy that I miss people.

Q. Any ballpark idea how many supe vacancies there will be at the time of the conference?

Wolff: I'd say a combined 150 positions. 

Q. Any different facets to the job fair or to Job Central (such as new session topics) in San Diego?

Wolff: No new facets. It's just a great opportunity to network, touch base with consulting firms and explore possibilities.

(Jay P. Goldman is editor of AASA’s Conference Daily Online and School Administrator magazine.)

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