With only seven applicants for executive director, the Wilmington Learning Collaborative council voted Thursday to extend the application deadline indefinitely.
It was to have ended by March 23, with the post being filled by June 1.
The council also discussed whether to alert the current applicants that the deadline was being extended, whether to post the job ad in Ed Week and hiring a nonprofit advisor to help them write bylaws and learn to run meetings well.
The Learning Collaborative is a partnership created in November 2022 to help Wilmington children in nine city elementary schools serving about 2,8000 across Brandywine, Red Clay and Christina school districts.
It hopes to create consistency for students, empower educators, school leaders and communities, and improve outcomes for students with better test scores, less absenteeism and higher graduation rates. To do that it also plans to connect families with social services to address issues like homelessness, poverty and hunger.
Councilman Don Patton said it was important that the council didn’t “hire someone just to hire someone.”
“Some of this plays on the number of people who apply and the quality of the people who apply,” he said.
Council members also said they wanted more regional and national candidates to apply.
Extending the application deadline could help draw regional or even national applicants, Patton said.
Council member Lincoln Hohler, who is also superintendent of Brandywine School District, suggested using some of the Collaborative’s $10 million budget on advertising.
“It’s $2,200 to post in the national top jobs for Ed Week for superintendents position, and it’s $1,395 for a director’s position,” Hohler said.
The council agreed to consider the option, but did not take a vote.
“It’s in the budget that we’ve started to draft,” said councilwoman Jennie Yeow, Red Clay’s parent representative who’s serving as the interim secretary for the council.
There is a line item for advertising and that’s been a part of the conversation among the committee responsible for making the collaborative’s budget, Yeow said.
The job description for the executive director position cites an annual salary of $156,257-$175,616.
“Can we send a courtesy email to the seven applicants that are already in the system, letting them know that the window’s being extended?” Hohler said. “Just having sat in that seat before, you know the updates one second, you get your fingers crossed for that phone call a week or two later, and it’s going to be longer than that? It’s just a professional courtesy.”
Patton said that isn’t necessary.
“If we’re saying ‘until it’s filled’ that doesn’t preclude us from finding applicants in that system now, and interviewing them,” he said.
Councilman Dorrell Green, who is also superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District, said since they aren’t extending it to a hard date, and the initial application deadline hasn’t even passed, a courtesy email isn’t necessary.
The council agreed to look into hiring a representative from the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement for $90 to help train the council in board procedures, operations and more.
Because this wasn’t listed on Thursday’s agenda, the council agreed to vote on hiring the nonprofit at its next meeting.
That meeting is March 23 at 6 p.m. Watch it here.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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