Leaders of the Omaha Public School Board say now they will -not- consider other finalists for their superintendent position after the Iowan they hired abruptly resigned last weekend.
Nancy Sebring was to have started work in Omaha in July but quit after it was revealed she’d sent sexually-explicit emails from her work computer at her former job as superintendent of the Des Moines school district.
Justin Wayne, a member of the Omaha’s school board, says they’re starting over with their superintendent search.
“This is the most important hire facing Omaha, Nebraska, and really the state of Nebraska,” Wayne says. “When you talk about human capital and economic development, it comes back to our education system so we don’t want to rush the judgment and go off of what we had before. We really want to cast a wide net and see what we get.”
Wayne says firms look at both professional credentials as well as personal issues of candidates during the evaluation process. With the latest case, he says there was no way of knowing about Sebring’s emails.
“Nobody in any application process goes through everybody’s emails,” Wayne says. “In fact, I believe these emails occurred after the application process was almost concluded. Most of the emails that I read tend to be after we had already offered her the job. There wouldn’t have been a background check that would’ve caught this.”
Wayne says personal background checks may soon be as important in the hiring process as looking at a person’s work history.
Wayne says, “The big question nationally from people that I’ve talked to nationally now is, are the search firms going to do those types of requests and what kind of impact this will have nationally.”
An interim superintendent will be selected to fill the position in Omaha while a national firm hunts for new candidates. The largest school systems in both Iowa and Nebraska are now without superintendents.
The 57-year-old Sebring is married. Published reports say the sexually-charged emails she sent and received were not to or from her husband, but another man.