The prime quality that Grand Island School District residents are looking for in a new superintendent is someone who will not only continue the schools’ high-ranking performance, but take it even higher.

In addition, said Stephen J. Uebbing of the University of Rochester’s Warner Center, they want a person who can “balance the tough economic times with being a compassionate leader.”

Uebbing and Timothy J. McElheran of the Warner Center – district consultants on the superintendent search – gave a summary at Monday’s School Board workshop on feedback from meetings and online surveys representing the opinions of nearly 500 residents and district staff members.

“This is a complex political and social district,” said Uebbing, and residents want a superintendent “who can navigate a community of high expectations.”

Both men also met with the board in an executive session prior to the workshop. Board member Tak Nobumoto participated in both meetings via Skype from his parents’ home in Japan.

Robert W. Christmann, who retired Oct. 1 after six years as superintendent, is serving in an interim, part-time basis. He is now executive director of the Western New York Education Services Council.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 15. Uebbing said the consultants have had contact with about 70 school administrators in the state about the position.

McElheran said they expect to present the board with six to eight semifinalists by the end of January. The board would winnow the candidates to two to three, who would also be interviewed by district stakeholders. A final decision could come in April or May, with a new superintendent taking office July 1, the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The board also had an hourlong presentation from Campus Construction Management on the $54.4 million capital project that is awaiting approval from the state Education Department.

“We expect approval within the next month to month and a half,” said John M. Ticco Jr., executive vice president of the firm, which will manage construction for the project that includes renovations and improvements to all five district schools.

Thomas R. Caruso, Campus vice president and project executive, said, “The goal is to award the bids in March. Construction is expected to begin in April and last two years.”

Ticco said, “This is a tough and arduous process, but it’s under control throughout.”

Campus works hand in hand with Cannon Design, project architects.

Caruso said the board needs to take several actions soon, including designating a person – Campus recommends the superintendent – to sign the prime contracts and someone to approve change orders up to $35,000. Additionally, the board should have a process in place for acting on change orders that exceed $35,000, Caruso said.

Joseph A. Giarrizzo, district financial director, has been a point man on the project, giving updates at monthly board meetings.

Mark Voorhees and Kevin Donaghue, Campus senior managers on the project, also explained a number of steps, including change orders, contingency funds, and payments to contractors.