Davis’ job hunt doesn’t faze board

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2001

As Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis attended his second job interview of the year this week, school board members can only speculate on his future in Natchez.

&uot;I think (Davis is) actively searching for a different job position,&uot; said Terry Estes, a former school board member.

With that in mind, the Natchez-Adams School District should prepare itself to search for a new superintendent, Estes said.

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Davis’ three and a one-half year contract with the district does not expire until next year, but he interviewed for a position with the Vicksburg-Warren School District this spring.

He later took his name out of consideration before a choice was announced but he attended a second interview Monday in Lorain, Ohio.

Davis was named one the top five finalists in a superintendent search for Lorain City Schools and a decision might be announced this week, said Keith Lilly, president of the school board in Lorain.

Don Marion, a member of the Natchez-Adams School Board, could not comment on Davis’ interview except to say he wished he had known about it before he read it in the paper.

&uot;I think it would be polite if he would let the board know,&uot; Marion said.

School board president Kenneth Taylor said the fact that Davis had the interview did not surprise him.

&uot;Dr. (Carl) Davis is a talented person and as long as he remains so there’s going to be other school districts and headhunters pursuing him for their own particular interests,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;If you’re talented other districts and people who are searching for other districts are going to be calling on you.&uot;

And even if Davis decides to leave Natchez, Taylor said the success of the district should continue.

&uot;If he does (leave), we’ll just find somebody else to be superintendent just like the other districts do,&uot; Taylor said.

Based on national trends, it would not be a unusual if Natchez or any other district in the country went through frequent superintendent searches, said Henriette Alen, executive director of the Mississippi Association of the School Administrators.

&uot;Every state will tell you that what’s happening in Natchez is probably happening in every state,&uot; said Alen.

For example, urban superintendents tend to average two and one half years with one district and they sometimes leave in the middle of a year instead of waiting to June – a more common process years ago, Alen said.

Across the country, districts are experiencing a shortage of administrators making positions plentiful for those willing to move, Alen said.

And once a superintendent has earned enough years to retire it is often in their financial interest to take a job out of state, Alen said.

&uot;Unless they have ties that bind them, they do what the other superintendents do. They move on,&uot; Alen said. &uot;As the sayings goes it’s nothing personal.&uot;

Davis is currently making about $95,000. The position in Lorain has a minimum salary of $140,000.

&uot;I think anytime a superintendent has a year left on his contract and (is) making a decision about career and future, you have to be interested in any opening,&uot; Davis said.

But when asked by Lorain City Schools if he would take the position if offered Davis said he told them he did not know.

A search firm contacted him about the interview even after the closing date for the position, Davis said. The interview did not mean he did not love Natchez or his work.

He viewed the decision from a business standpoint.

&uot;It has nothing to do with … where your heart is – it’s finances,&uot; Davis said. &uot;They’ve got to all realize it is a business.&uot;

He admitted the salary is an opportunity knocking and he described $140,000 as the &uot;going rate&uot; for many districts.

&uot;I like what we do (in Natchez), but also I know there’s other opportunities out there that I have to look at,&uot; Davis said.

Things have changed from the days when superintendents began work as teachers and moved up within the ranks in the same district.

Former Natchez-Adams Superintendent Claude Porter, said superintendents today do not have the same commitment to a particular district as they did at one time.

&uot;When I came along I don’t think I ever discussed salaries that much with the board when I was superintendent,&uot; Porter said.

Porter worked for the district 36 years including 11 years as superintendent, before he retired in 1988. His predecessor, Dr. Gilmer McLaurin served even longer.

Alen doubted that districts would ever return to those days.

&uot;There’s too many golden opportunities,&uot; she said. &uot;There’s too many people out there looking for administrators.&uot;