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NFSD Superintendent announces retirement

By: Katherine Trowbridge

February 29, 2024

At their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, the board of directors for the North Franklin School District (NFSD) accepted the resignation of Superintendent Jim Jacobs, effective June 30, 2024.

Superintendent Jacobs has led the NFSD for the past six years. Throughout his 27-year career in the district, Jacobs has served in numerous positions, including teacher, summer school director, elementary principal, junior high principal, superintendent and regional representative to the WASA Board of Directors. 

Jacobs’ motto is “Kids First, Education Always,” and this shows in his relationships with students, staff and parents throughout the years, a district press release stated. 

The board of directors accepted the resignation with a very reluctant sigh of yes during their board meeting held Monday, Feb. 26 after the motion was made by Patti Walker with the words, “Reluctantly and with great sadness…”

Jim Jacobs told the board, “It’s been a great career. I’ve either been serving my country or this district for the past 32 years. I’m just tired.” He went on to share that he is not seeking employment elsewhere. The board did ask if he would still drive school buses, to which he replied, “if needed.” 

On behalf of the NFSD Board of Directors, Chairperson Terry Utecht stated, “It’s hard to imagine the North Franklin School District without Jim Jacobs in it, as he has served in many different aspects for over 27 years. The district has been blessed with Jim’s dedicated leadership for the past six years. He is a true leader in every sense of the word. The board is deeply saddened to see him go, but we are confident that the district is in a very healthy position which will help facilitate a smooth transition. We are excited to see what opportunities lie ahead for Jim and his family.”

The board also approved a motion by Lori Mercer to hire Northwest Leadership Associates to oversee the hiring process for a new superintendent.

Superintendent Jim Jacobs along with NFSD Board members listen as Dr. Sementi explains the process to hire a new superintendent.

Dr. Gene Sementi, a former superintendent himself, explained the process Northwest Leadership will guide the district through. Sementi expressed that there aren’t many openings at this time which is good for our district. He also highlighted the many things we have going for us, “You have a stable board, financially you are in good shape, and you just passed a levy at a rate that most district’s would be envious of…” 

The first step will be to meet with focus groups beginning with staff at 3:30 pm. on Wednesday, March 6 followed by a community meeting at 6 pm at the District Administration Office. A community survey, along with the job description, will also go up on the district’s website. The community is encouraged to participate in person and by taking the online survey. 

The goal is to gather what characteristics the community would like to see in their next superintendent as well as the district’s strengths and challenges. Utecht mentioned experience vs. personality to which Sementi stated, with a stable board and no issues with negotiations or budget, the need for experience is lessened here. Jacobs added that they will also be greeted with a “solid cabinet of support.” 

On March 11, a packet will go out to a nationwide mailing list to seek potential candidates with an application deadline of April 17. Applications will be screened on April 22, as the board looks over all candidates, background checks are held, and further information obtained. 

Three to six of these candidates will then be selected for preliminary interviews to take place on April 27. The top three will then come before the board for final interviews on May 4, with the announcement of the final selection to be made on May 6. These dates could be subject to some adjustments. This schedule would provide for a transitional time with the outgoing superintendent. The new superintendent will step into the role officially on July 1, 2024.

Jacobs said, “After 27 years of service to our community I will greatly miss the daily interactions with students, staff, and parents of the NFSD. I will be retiring to spend time with my family and travel.” He added, ‘I’ve had a long and enjoyable career in the North Franklin School District and made 1,000’s of friends along the way.” 

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