CANTON - The search is on for a new superintendent at USD 419. The current superintendent John Denk is header to Santa Fe Trails to be their superintendent.

"I think John has done a great job," School Board President Quincy Krase said. "I wish him well and hope only success for him."

Canton-Galva is now seeking the perfect candidate for their school district and they have some pretty specific qualities in mind.

"We actually did some focus groups one within the community and one with the teachers to make sure that what we think we are looking for is what they think we should be looking for," Krase explained. "Integrity, honesty, personable, transparent, empathetic, a good educator and leader. These were all words that were used often by everyone."

The district has decided to utilize the Kansas Association of School Boards in their search. The KASB has been helping districts find superintendents for more than 40 years. In the past 10 years they have assisted area districts in their superintendent search to include; McPherson, Moundridge, Inman, Little River and even Canton-Galva when they found Denk.

"They will vet the applicants," Krase explained. "Obviously we could look at that pool and interview elsewhere, not that we would with their connections. They are making the recommendations based on what we are looking for and saying these are your best applicants."

While integrity, empathy and honesty are necessary qualities in leadership roles. Canton-Galva is looking for something more - someone who isn't afraid of taking chances.

"The way education is moving now, the most important thing we are looking for is someone who thinks outside the box," Krase said. "If you have an idea try it. Just because no one has tried it, doesn't mean it won't work."

The district, like many others has been in the process of a redesign. They are      figuring out what works and what doesn't through research, collaboration and even some trial and error and it's working wonders.

"Our current superintendent has brought in people to do some training who are challenging our teachers to think outside the box," Krase explained. "We have a couple teachers who have been teaching in our district for many years who are excited about teaching again. Thats huge when you have a teacher in the twilight of their career saying I haven't been this excited in years."

USD 419 is unique in that it spans two towns. The high school and middle school are located in Canton, while the elementary school is in Galva. This presents its own set of challenges for the person taking on the role of superintendent.

"You have to understand the uniqueness of each town," Krase said. "Though the towns are not vastly different, they are unique and you have to use each town's uniqueness as a strength."

The incoming superintendent of the Canton-Galva school district has big shoes to fill, but the search is on for the perfect person to lead.

"I think that we're not unlike any other district in that we have great kids who do great things," Krase said. "However, we have great teachers who are out there pushing kids and using their own strengths and getting kids involved in community projects. There's a lot going on in Canton Galva that you are not going to find in other districts."

 Contact Teri L. Hansen by email at thansen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MiddleSentinel.