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School Superintendent Job Ads to be Published ASAP

The School Committee is quickly moving forward with the purchase of advertisements for the school superintendent position.

The search for a new school superintendent quickly moves to its next steps on Friday with the purchase of advertisements seeking candidates for the job.

The 8-0 decision on Thursday night by the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee to immediately purchase ads comes after the superintendent search committee voted 8-2 on Monday night to not move Interim Superintendent Peter Gray forward to the School Committee as a candidate to permanently fill the position.

Gray, who typically sits among the School Committee during its meetings at Buker Elementary School, left before the committee has its discussion on Thursday night about its next moves to fill the position. Gray has been serving an interim superintendent since May, when then-Superintendent Dr. Raleigh Buchanan left the district after reaching a “mutual agreement” with the School Committee. He was on the job for 10 months.

The School Committee approved a budget up to $3,500 on Thursday night to spend on advertising for the position - it includes $2,500 for an ad in Education Week and $400 for an ad on Boston.com and Monster.com.

A complete press release from the school district is attached to this story as a PDF.

“This is the biggest decision the committee makes,” said committee member Dacia Rubel.

School Committee Chairman Alexa McCloughan pushed to get the ad published as soon as possible, noting that not getting the ad in the right publications may mean the difference between getting the right candidate and missing out on the right candidate.

“Notwithstanding some transitions, we are a desirable community,” McCloughan said.

McCloughan also said that she did not plan to continue serving on the superintendent search committee. She has also served as the search committee’s chairman.

Roger Kuebel, the vice-chairman of the School Committee, will take over as the search committee’s chairman. The School Committee named Rubel as the second School Committee member on the 12-member search committee. The remaining search committee members said they wished to remain on the committee.

“We all have to network ourselves and talk to people,” Rubel said.

While some School Committee members offered suggestions for rewording some of the draft ads, Kuebel suggested that if the ad is simply an announcement that the district is looking for candidates it should be published as soon as possible.

“You have to hit the ground running,” Rubel said.

Applicants will be given about a month to submit resumes.

“During that time we have a lot of work to do as a committee,” Rubel said.

Committee members will each come up with ideas for tasks they hope the new superintendent will accomplish and how that person will be evaluated.

The committee did decide on Thursday night that it will not require applicants to hold a doctorate degree and will not require experience with a regional school district, hoping to draw the widest selection of applicants.

Search committee member Jeff Stinson, a Hamilton Selectman who serves as the liaison to the School Committee, did urge the School Committee to “dig deeper” in finding an outside facilitator to work with the search committee. He also asked the School Committee on Thursday night to formally tell the search committee what it wants in the next superintendent.

The School Committee will next meet on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss the next steps in the search.

Bob Gray February 17, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Hope this search will not be another "rush to judgement" like the last time just because the sitting School Committee members wanted to be the ones to pick the Superintendent. Doesn't it make sense to let the newly elected school committee members who will be working with the new Super be the ones to hire him/her??? But I can hear it now "we have the most experience and should be the ones to do the hiring" Baloney!!!!
Grace February 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Bob, What was behind the problem last time (when Raleigh Buchanan was selected) was not a rush to judgement per se, but a decision by a couple of school committee members that they had to make a permanent hire and would not consider an interim at all costs. (And we have paid heavily for that.) We simply cannot wait, nothing to do with whether the new or old committee chooses, but because we will lose all the good potential candidates if we wait. In fact we are already on the late side, with appointments happening weekly. We need to recruit and go through the vetting process as quickly as we can do a good job of it. I believe there are some very good candidates out there, and we will be successful. In the unlikely circumstance that we don't find a high quality candidate who is a good fit, then we should not rule out getting an experienced interim superintendent (equivalent to John Hughes, out interim high school principal), and launching our final search in November. This is highly unlikely to be necessary, but should not be ruled out. Either way, the decision to go to an open search as quickly as possible at this point is essential.
Jay Burnham February 18, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Bob...How about the salary for the new superintendent? Last time we were told that we had to pay a high salary in order to attract the best candidates and we saw how well that worked out (with the unanimous approval of the School Committee). The word on the street is that they are suggesting around $200k which would be absurd considering the size of our school system. As has been recently proven in Hamilton & Wenham...offering a high salary DOES NOT in any way guarantee the best candidate.
Michelle Bailey February 18, 2012 at 10:37 PM
If we want a superintendent in place to start the new school year, the appointment needs to be made by mid-May. Generally education contracts run through the end of a school year. Currently employed superintendents or assistant superintendents are "free-agents" in the spring or have contracts requiring 60-days notice to leave. 'Tis the season for superintendent searches. In the past 2 weeks, Peabody and Pentucket have both announced new superintendents to start on July 1. We need to proceed quickly and thoughtfully.
Bob Gray February 19, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Sorry Michelle, I'm not buying it. We have Peter Gray to run things for us and he has a year and a half left on his contract. And we all know that he is being micro managed by the certrain School Committee members anyway so what's the big deal. This "pool" of candidates will not suddenly "shrink" or go away in May! Slow the process down!! BTW did you see that the new Peabody Super is being paid $144,000.00 !!!
Bob Gray February 19, 2012 at 02:15 PM
See my reply to Michelle....
Bob Gray February 19, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I agree Jay! Why is it that when there is a problem some people think throwing money at it will solve everything? Experience has taught us that it doesn't but then again lots of people are slow learners aren't they? They usually go into politics!!
Michelle Bailey February 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Check your facts...The Interim Supt. in Peabody is paid $144K per year. The new supt. will likely be paid more. (Interim Supt. Peter Gray makes about 6% less than the prior permanent supt.). A range of $155-170K is appropriate for HWRSD location, size and complexity. Alas, our contract with Peter Gray is not an indentured servant. He may choose to leave with 60-days notice. With the Supt. search now open, Peter Gray may be looking to put his skills and qualifications to use in one of the many districts looking for his talents as an Asst. Superintendent, Business Manager, or Superintendent.
Bertie B March 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I would like to nominate a great guy I know: His name is Richard Herts and he's been the superintendent out in Holden, MA for the last 10 years. I think with his great reputation in the community, he's not a guy that's going to jerk us around. A real straight shooter that will definitely improve Hamilton's quality of life.
Dave Coulier March 15, 2012 at 04:40 PM
He's free? I thought they had him tucked away. Maybe if they dangle enough to pull him out, he could create some stiff competition here.
Jim Smith April 18, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I bet one could hire a common sense business person for $75,000.00 per year or less as superintendant. I think our system of over-government has precluded good people from being hired for these once attainable positions by those who were more concerned with our students and school system than a big paycheck ? I would like to see someone with common sense, not a Elizabeth Warren or Martha coakley pin head. we've had enough of those and they leave as quickly as they get here. They are allowed to collect unemployment compensation and are well compensated all around for accomplishing nothing, but fleecing the tax payer. If we are truly a regionalized community. Why not have the state sanctify having regional superintendents overseeing two or three school districts ?

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