The Haines Borough has taken out more than $18 million in bonds to pay for a new school and renovations. (Emily Files)

The Haines School. (Emily Files)

The Haines Borough School Board will conduct a superintendent search in-house. The last permanent superintendent left after about a year and the board wants to take a different approach to hiring this year.

“One of the reasons I’m not excited about going back to AASB is I feel like we’d be doing the exact same thing,” said board member Sara Chapell. “We’d be asking the same questions, we’d be rolling through the same process.”

The group worked with the Alaska Association of School Boards when it hired Tony Habra as superintendent at the beginning of the 2016 school year. The process cost the district around $8,000. The board ended Habra’s contract after about a year because it wasn’t satisfied with his job performance.

Habra was the second permanent superintendent in recent years to leave after such a short time. Now the board is looking for a new leader who will have more longevity.

At a meeting last week, the board decided to go a different direction with hiring by doing the search itself. President Anne Marie Palmieri suggested one way to alleviate some of the stress an in-house search would put on the board and administration.

“If we do decide to do this ourselves, maybe there’s a personnel committee that we can form that’s a couple people,” said Palmieri. “Or we can flow in and out of it as people have time, just to share that workload.”

She said when the school board took this approach in the past it was challenging having too many people involved at once.

I know that when we’ve had search committees before that have been 20, 30 people, that is too unwieldy,” said Palmieri. “And if everybody talks for 3 minutes that’s 90 minutes and no one’s said anything.”

Interim superintendent Rich Carlson suggested another way to save the district some work.

“A possibly hybrid of this is to have us internally or whatever, continuously report back to the board, to do the search and then hire somebody for just a two to three week period to do all the reference checks,” said Carlson.

A personnel committee made up of Chapell, Palmieri and Jeanne Kitayama will start the hiring process. They’ll draft a hiring plan and job announcement and present them to the board at its Nov. 7 meeting.

The committee will also draft a list of different community members to reach out to about being part of the hiring process.

A community roundtable to talk about what residents want in a new superintendent is scheduled for Oct. 24 in the school library.