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About: List
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About Ray & Associates

Ray and Associates, Inc. is a professional organization that specializes in school executive leadership searches.

The firm has been in the school executive search business since 1975 and has established an outstanding reputation for recruiting outstanding candidates that match the expectations of the Board and community. We have also been extremely successful in recruiting women, minorities and non-traditional candidates for school districts. 

The firm has been recognized by "The School Administrator" journal as one of the top search firms in the country. All of our professional consultants are individuals with long experiences in the school executive search field with extensive backgrounds as school administrators, business executives, school board members, university professors, and attorneys. 

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What Working With Ray & Associates Will Mean:

  • Objectivity and impartiality are trademarks of the firm.

  • We are not a placement service for candidates - we do not accept any fees from candidates.

  • The firm employs experienced associates across the nation, so all regions of the country are covered by our network.

  • We have a highly qualified full-time office staff.

  • We present, exhibit, and recruit at AASA and NSBA as well as many state school board conventions throughout the year.

  • We have long standing relationships with major organizations to include: Urban Superintendents of America, the Council of Great City Schools, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy among many other organizations. 

Recruitment is an important key to our successful track record. The best candidates already have good jobs, so they must be made aware of the positions for which they may be well qualified.


The Ray Way: The Process

The Ray & Associates team works closely with districts to determine the precise qualifications and skill set needed in a Superintendent specific to the district’s unique needs and challenges. We interview candidates extensively to ensure those who are presented to the Board are those best suited for the district’s requirements and future needs.  We continue to stay actively involved through the interview, final selection and acceptance offer with the objective to launch long-term, successful Superintendents in every district that we serve.

R & A has access to the most comprehensive pool of candidates of any executive search firm in the country. In addition to meeting and recruiting outstanding administrators while exhibiting at state and national conventions.

The combination of our associates’ expertise, our extensive recruiting network and customized talent acquisition strategy ensures we deliver a successful Superintendent match for our clients, every time.

Stage One: Discovery – Board Input and Preparation:

Our goal in the first stage is to learn more about your specifications and unique district culture. The firm will meet with each Board member individually to obtain input for the profile development. We will also meet with the entire Board to determine the timeline for the search, finalize procedures and services desired by the Board, establish the Board contact person(s), discuss the application process, establish the advertising campaign and determine the salary, among other details.

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Stage Two: Profile Development and Process

Once we have collected information from the Board during the Discovery stage, the Profile Development Process will begin. Ray and Associates firmly believes in parent, staff, and community participation, especially in the development of an accurate profile for the position.  At this time, we will seek input from but not limited to: students, parents, employees and community stakeholders that have been identified by the Board. Utilizing open forums, video conference meetings and online surveys we will solicit input through our research based 31 Characteristics Survey. This tool will help create an accurate profile of the superintendent who would best fit your district’s needs.


Our conversations with constituents and interviews with individual Board members, coupled with survey results, provide our firm with an accurate profile that is employed in the recruiting and careful screening of applicants. The characteristics most commonly selected will be used in promotional materials.

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Stage Three: Recruitment

After completing the Profile, Ray & Associates will begin utilizing our extensive network to find the perfect match.  Our database combined with our team’s expertise and connections gives us access to the industry's best talent. As we connect with candidates for you, we go beyond assessing their professional qualifications to listening closely in an effort to understand their career goals and motivations. During our comprehensive recruitment process, the search team thoroughly reviews each file and seeks alignment of qualifications with District expectations. Those who emerge successfully from this screening are deemed viable candidates.

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Stage Four: Candidate Presentation & Interview


Ray & Associates typically brings between 8-12 top candidates before the Board for their consideration.  Board members will have the opportunity to review the application packet submitted by each candidate as well as observe a one-way video interview with the candidates. After the initial round of virtual candidate presentations, Board members will be asked to individually complete a matrix which allows them to review each top candidate against the others. We then provide the Board with a breakdown of the individual Board responses. This comparison allows the Board members to begin their discussion and assists in  reaching consensus on which candidates they would like to advance for interviews. This process ensures that all Board members have an equal opportunity to be involved in the selection process. Criminal, civil litigation, social security, motor vehicle record checks and verification of educational degrees on the top 2-3 candidate(s) will be conducted through an outside service at no additional cost to the district.



Ray and Associates will then coordinate all logistics of a face-to-face interview with the 2-3 top candidates as well as assist the Board in establishing the interview format, developing interview questions, and post-interview deliberation.


For Boards that have chosen, or are required, to include the public and / or employees during the interview phase, Ray & Associates will coordinate the details of this process. Participants in these groups are requested to complete a feedback form that is then shared for each Board member’s review and are requested not to rank or score the candidates. For open forums, Ray & Associates will provide a proven process that includes a moderator and questions submitted in writing from the audience.

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Stage Five: The Selection

At the conclusion of the last interview, the representative from Ray & Associates will lead the Board through a consensus building activity which has proven to be very successful in assisting Board members to reach a final determination of their finalist(s). It is also requested by some of our client school boards that the top two (sometimes three) finalists are brought back to the District for an open forum with the public. We provide a proven process for this as well that includes a moderator.

Once a final candidate is identified, we assist the Board and/or legal counsel with extending an offer. Once accepted, we stay in touch with the Board and the new hire to support a smooth transition and a successful start for all.

Ray & Associates provides a two-year guarantee clause in our contract with our clients as well as a promise that we will not recruit candidates we have placed for a minimum of 5 years.

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Stage Six: Post Placement & Future Planning

Included in the base fee, the consultants from Ray & Associates, Inc. will spend time with the Board and new hire to reflect upon current governance procedures. In respect to governance and District initiatives, we have found there is really no better time than very early in the tenure of a new Superintendent to assess issues and initiate goals and expectations.

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