The Lonedell R-XIV School District Board of Education did not make a decision regarding how to proceed with its search for a new superintendent on Wednesday when the group gathered for its February meeting.

The board did discuss the situation at length both in open and closed sessions, but opted to gather more information and have additional discussions before giving a green light to find a replacement.

Earlier in February, current Superintendent Fred VanBibber resigned, saying he was ready to retire from the education field and pursue other interests. VanBibber is in his fourth year at the R-XIV helm.

“The board discussed in detail the search options and heard ideas and suggestions from both Fred and (Principal) Jenny (Ulrich),” board of education President Kathy Reed said after the meeting. “At this time, we are reviewing our recruitment policy and are planning on meeting again within the next week or two after all of the board members have had a chance to mull over the options. Then, we will make a decision as to where and how long we will post the position.”


During the open board meeting, VanBibber said options include having the Missouri School Boards Association conduct the search or having the board do all the legwork while utilizing various venues to post the position. Using the MSBA would come with a price tag, the superintendent said, adding he did not know how much the expense would be.

“Certainly you can go through them (MSBA),” VanBibber said during the meeting. “They have the recruiting tools available to assist us. For a fee, I think they can do everything.

“Or, we can post the opening ourselves and do all the work ourselves for free.”

Possible websites to post the opening, besides Lonedell’s own site, are the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Association of Rural Education and DESE.

“I think we should advertise it sooner than later,” Reed said during the meeting. “But, I don’t think we’re in a time crunch yet. Let’s just make sure we’re proactive with this instead of reactive.”

On Thursday, Reed emphasized that she feels the district has a little time.

“While I think we might be a bit behind an MSBA superintendent search timeline, the bottom line is I don’t think a delay of a month or so will have a negative effect on our search,” she told The Missourian. “We have a great school, and I believe the recent recognitions we’ve had will prove a plus for us during the search.”

Those recognitions include board member Steve Heideman and Lonedell-area and current St. Clair High School student Alicia York being named MARE’s board member and student of the year and the school earning a perfect 80-for-80 on the recently released MSIP 5 summary report. Lonedell was one of only 10 school districts in the state to earn the perfect tally in gaining its accreditation with distinction.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education used the fifth revision of its annual performance report for the first time this year and ranked K-8 state school districts in four standards and K-12 districts in five. Each standard has a certain number of points a district can earn which then leads to a percentage.

As superintendent, VanBibber is earning $97,850 this year.


The board also discussed Lonedell’s principal and business manager positions and voted in open session to offer contract extensions and 3 percent raises to both serving in those capacities.

Ulrich was offered a one-year contract extension that is good through the 2014-15 academic year while Janet Garber was offered another yearlong contract.

Ulrich currently is paid $72,000 annually as principal while Garner earns $49,000 as the district’s business manager.

“Jenny has done an outstanding job as principal,” Reed said. “With her continued guidance, we will continue to be an excellent school for the children in our district.

“Janet’s knowledge is invaluable, and we are extremely appreciative of her hard work for our district.”

The raises will become effective on July 1. Ulrich’s pay hike will increase her salary to $74,160 while Garber will earn $50,470 starting in July.