Search for new school president underway


Megan Cornell

The BSM Board formed a search committee and is working with an external form to hire a new president.

After Dr. Adam Ehrmantraut announced that he was leaving his position as president of BSM, the board began their search for his replacement.

To ensure that the candidate chosen is an ideal fit for the community, the school board formed a search committee composed of board members, parents, alumni, an archdiocese representative, and math teacher Mary Seppala as a staff representative. “It started early on, as soon as we heard from Dr. Ehrmantraut that he was leaving. Our first step was to form a search committee. We wanted to make sure we had representatives from across the school, so this committee was formed,” Chair of the board and committee member Laura Portz said.

The committee’s first step was to hire an outside search firm to help them with preliminary screening and interviews. The school has worked with this firm in the past, when they hired the Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Dennis Draughn. “The school hired an external search firm called Carney, Sandhoe & Associates (CS&A) that specializes in independent school consulting. They have helped spread the word that we are looking for a president, and they gather and organize information on applicants such as resumes, cover letters, a questionnaire, and an initial interview. We wanted to gather as many applicants as possible to cast a wide net,’” Seppala said in an email interview.

The search firm will help search for candidates, and even lead preliminary interviews. If candidates show potential in this early round of interviews, then they will come before the search committee to continue the process. “We’re trying to get lots of applicants in the door and then our search firm actually does the initial screening with them. So they have conversations, they know us pretty well, and then they test to see whether the candidates are a fit for us. If they think they are, they route them to the search committee, and then the search committee talks to them,” Portz said.

As well as hiring the external firm, the committee has reached out to different members of the community for input on the new hire. “The school sent out a survey to the broad BSM community to gather input on what skills and experiences we think are needed in our next president. Those survey results are on the BSM website,” Seppala said.

So our goal is really to make sure we find the best person so we’re trying to capture as many candidates as we can, because we want that final list to be really reflective of everybody.

— BSM Board President Laura Portz

The survey results and community feedback helped give the committee and search firm an idea of what to look for in potential candidates. With this information, they formed a position profile. Outlined on the school’s website, it lists the qualifications for the candidates. The desired qualifications range from a strong Catholic faith to business and executive experience. “We want to make sure that faith is a core part of who the person is…Experience, making sure that they know how to execute goals, establish goals, set objectives, and deliver against them…executive presence is actually a really important part of this,” Portz said.

A lot of the processes and qualifications are similar to when Dr. Ehrmantraut was hired a few years back. “We weren’t surprised when we did the survey that a lot of the feedback we got reinforced how we were already doing things and how we had searched for Dr. Ehrmantraut,” Portz said.

Right now, the committee is still interviewing potential hires. Their goal is to find enough promising candidates to form a short list. From there, they can bring in these candidates to interact with community members and students at school. “We’re still in process. So our goal is really to make sure we find the best person so we’re trying to capture as many candidates as we can, because we want that final list to be really reflective of everybody,” Portz said.

If the committee doesn’t find a hire by July 1, the board might put an interim candidate in place. “If we ended up getting to the end of this process, and we find that we haven’t found somebody that would be a good fit, we would have an interim and so it’s similar to how we handled it with the last president placement when Dr. Ehrmantraut came in. We actually needed an interim president to lead the school and guide the school before he took over. So we would never have a position where we didn’t have a president in place, we would either have our permanent replacement enroll, or we would have an interim who would carry us until we can actually find the right person for the job,” Portz said.