The search is on for a new superintendent at Benton Harbor Area Schools. At a Tuesday meeting, the board of education spoke with a representative of Ray and Associates, the firm that’s helping it find a new district leader. Trustees identified more than 10 qualities they want in the new superintendent, and those include experience in similar districts and experience with improving student achievement. Board Vice President Joseph Taylor spoke with WSJM News.

“We’re looking for a transformation leader, a leader that understands racial equity in a community like ours, and someone that’s truly able to truly turn around a district that has financial and educational issues at this time,” Taylor said.

Trustee Patricia Rush said she thought the job posting should make it clear the district has some problems and needs turnaround help. Taylor feels the same way.

“I do agree because we need the applicant to understand what they’re getting into. So there should be no misnomer. They should know what the application states and if this is the right or wrong place for them.”

The board settled on a base salary of $140,000 for the new superintendent, less than the usual $180,000. Taylor said he suspects the district has been overpaying superintendents, and Rush supported Trustee Matthew Bradley’s suggestion of offering achievable performance incentives for more pay. The job will be posted by Ray and Associates this week, and the board hopes to be done with the search in mid-December. Also Tuesday, Taylor said an agreement with the state to set up a new advisory committee to draft a turnaround plan will be discussed on October 15.