EAST MONTPELIER — Secretary of Education Dan French has signed off on the search for an interim superintendent in the Washington Central Supervisory Union and officials there will soon learn how many people are interested in the job.
A day after French authorized the supervisory union board to proceed with its plan to search for a temporary successor for outgoing Superintendent Bill Kimball, the interim position was posted on SchoolSpring, an education jobs website.
Posted last Thursday, the online ad sets a May 3 deadline for applicants interested in a one-year position that starts July 1 and will pay between $125,000 and $135,000.
Due to time constraints, the three-week window was all the supervisory union’s executive committee could afford as part of a consultant-led search it hopes will attract qualified candidates.
Mark Andrews, the retired superintendent who was recently retained to run the search, told committee members it would require fast action and allow for a little less outreach.
That is still the plan.
Andrews will spend the next two weeks soliciting input from School Board members, school administrators, teacher representatives and central office staff. Though community outreach would typically be part of the process, there isn’t time for that and residents with thoughts about the search are encouraged to communicate them to their School Board members who can relay them to Andrews.
The aggressive time frame laid out by Andrews involves his providing the committee with a short list of qualified candidates in time for it to conduct interviews and, if necessary, site visits by mid-May with an eye toward making a job offer by the end of the month.
That presumes there are qualified candidates who are interested, which, Andrews has warned, isn’t a given this late in the hiring season.
That’s one of the reasons the committee proposed to hire an interim superintendent, launching a search it envisioned would buy time to prepare to recruit a permanent superintendent in the fall.
Securing “steady leadership” in a supervisory union bracing for change associated with a state-ordered school district merger is viewed as a top priority.
Barring judicial or legislative intervention, that merger is scheduled to launch July 1. That’s when operational authority of pre-K-12 education in the five-town, six-school supervisory union is set to shift to a board that will include 10 collectively elected representatives from Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex and Worcester.
The new board will be elected on May 21 and seated even as the search for an interim superintendent is nearing a conclusion. It is unclear what role — if any — members of the merged board will have in the selection, though, whoever is hired could wind up working mostly for them.
Even if lawmakers can agree on conditions to delay the effective date of the merger for one year, the merged board would be responsible for preparing the budget that would be presented to voters in all five communities next March.
That’s why the committee is looking for someone familiar with “… effective school board governance and the impact of school district consolidation based on current state policy.”
Other “minimum requirements” include a license to serve as a superintendent in Vermont, an advanced degree and at least three years of successful administrative experience.
Additionally, French, who has asked the committee to forward the resumes of the finalists to his office, has indicated the chosen candidate must “have a familiarity with and support” the strategic plan prepared by the state Board of Education and the state Agency of Education.
French has signed off on the search for an interim superintendent who would work through June 30, 2020, but has not been asked, nor consented to a subsequent search for a permanent replacement for Kimball.
Kimball, who has served as Washington Central superintendent for seven years, is leaving on June 30 to take over as assistant superintendent of the St. Albans-based Maple Run Unified School District.