RACINE — The Racine Unified School Board will negotiate a contract with superintendent finalist Lolli Haws, board President Dennis Wiser announced this morning, less than 24 hours after Haws’ final interviews.
“The RUSD Board of Education is entering into contract negotiations with Dr. Lolli Haws for the purpose of hiring her as superintendent,” a statement from Wiser read. “It is anticipated that the negotiations will take several weeks.”
Shortly after the announcement, Haws said she is very much looking forward to working in Racine.
“I’m thrilled and, assuming all goes well, I expect that this will be an honor and a privilege to serve and work on behalf of the children and constituents in the Racine Unified School District,” she said.
Haws’ contract is likely to include beginning work July 1, with a salary of $200,000 to $225,000 annually, plus benefits, according to guidelines previously set by the school board. Haws’ salary in her current job, as an instructional superintendent with Washington, D.C., Public Schools, was not available today.
Interim Unified Superintendent Ann Laing made $150,000 plus benefits in 2011-12, the most recent year for which data is available. Her predecessor, Jim Shaw, earned $180,000 plus benefits in 2010-11, his final year with Unified, state data shows.
Former Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad made $201,437 plus benefits; Kenosha Superintendent Michele Hancock was paid $195,000 plus benefits; and Milwaukee Superintendent Gregory Thornton earned $265,000 plus benefits, all in 2011-12, according to state data.
Approval of Haws’ pay — and the rest of her final contract — must be done by the School Board in an open meeting, with notice of the meeting given to the public in advance.
Haws visited Racine Tuesday for school tours, final interviews and a public forum. Afterward she said Racine is her first choice district but she does have other “irons in the fire.” She is slated to interview for a superintendency in St. Cloud, Minn., tonight, according to the St. Cloud Times.
In her D.C. job, Haws, 58, of Fairfax, Va., leads staff at 13 schools in developing improvement plans, analyzing student data and implementing a newer “Common Core” curriculum. All those things are ongoing in Racine Unified.
Prior to her work in D.C., Haws was principal of elementary schools in Virginia and Missouri.
Haws has faced criticism for her background because her experience is largely at elementary and middle school levels and because she has not run a K-12 district before. Haws said she has “a good grasp of secondary” education though, and that leadership and quality teaching strategies apply no matter the setting.
The Unified School Board identified Haws as its sole superintendent finalist Feb. 11, after a months-long search process.
More than 60 people applied for Unified’s superintendent position. The board interviewed seven of them, including Haws, on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 during meetings closed to the public because they related to personnel.
The other interviewed candidates included Milwaukee and Chicago public school officials and superintendents from Illinois, Colorado and Washington. No internal candidates were interviewed.