Michael Harvey, currently the principal at , was the unanimous pick to become the next Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District superintendent on Monday night.
School Committee Chairman Alexa McCloughan notified Harvey in a cell phone call minutes after the 7:36 p.m. vote.
“He is very excited,” McCloughan said.
It took the committee only about 35 minutes to go around and have each member outline their support for Harvey. Bill Dery was the only committee member to pick another candidate – Susan Givens. Dery said that Givens has the financial skills and experience with a regional school district at the Masconomet Regional School District that is needed for Hamilton-Wenham. But after the committee’s eight other members all backed Harvey, Dery said that he would back Harvey to make it an unanimous vote.
“Mike has always been a close second in my mind,” Dery said, after joking that he did not want his vote in favor of Harvey “to tarnish my reputation as a black sheep.”
Following the vote, the School Committee went into executive session to discuss Harvey’s contract offer. The fiscal 2013 budget has about $170,000 budgeted for the superintendent position.
The initial were , who were each interviewed. From there, . Since then, School Committee member have hosted each candidate , plus each have had some School Committee members .
The other candidates were Susan Givens, currently chief financial officer for the Masconomet Regional School District; William Hart, currently assistant superintendent for Pentucket Regional Schools and Julia Phelps, currently associate commissioner for curriculum and instruction at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Committee members lauded Harvey on a variety of counts, including his ability to be a visionary leader for the district.
McCloughan said Harvey will be a “leader and excellent fit for our district.”
“We need an operational leader,” she said.
Harvey, if he reaches a contract with the School Committee, will take over for interim Superintendent Peter Gray, after .
Since the departure of Superintendent Dr. Marinel McGrath in 2010, the faculty and leadership team has been ignored, she said, and is not innovating any longer. Harvey will change that, she said.
“We need someone to come in and manage the people in our district and give them direction.”
Roger Kuebel said Harvey is the right person to lead the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District for the next five to 10 years.
“We’re really hoping to bring in someone who will be here for a long time,” he said. Some of Kuebel’s concerns about Harvey were his central office experience and ability to develop a vision and have innovation. During a visit to Belmont High School, Kuebel said he asked Harvey’s co-workers specific questions about those concerns – and got satisfyingly specific answers.
“Those answers were very impressive,” Kuebel said.