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.