A Search Committee has been chosen as the School Committee kicked-off the latest quest for a new superintendent of schools during a special meeting in Roxbury’s Dudley Square Wednesday night, Oct. 24.
Chair Michael Loconto said they have nominated 11 people for the Search Committee and will begin an expedited process to find a new superintendent after former Supt. Tommy Chang left abruptly last year. After Chang left, Interim Supt. Laura Perille was appointed to the position, but she indicated that she would not be seeking the permanent job.
The process will be familiar to many, including the School Committee, as all current members participated in choosing Chang just four years ago.
“The meeting is the kick-off for the superintendent search process, which will follow a pretty compacted timeline in response to community input and our desire to keep the district focused on narrowing opportunity achievement gaps, maintaining operations and working on our 10-year Master Facilities Plan and BuildBPS…We’re in a good position because this search is fresh in a lot of our minds. Everyone on the School Committee was on the School Committee when we hired our last superintendent. Quite frankly, we are in the process at the right time to capitalize on the best time for a superintendent search at a large urban school district. The market heats up from December to February.”
Loconto said superintendents looking to make a move typically work on applications over Christmas Break, and that is right about the time the schools will open up the process to applicants.
The Search Committee will be chaired by School Committeewoman Alexandra Oliver-Davila and former UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley. The Committee will be comprised of nine other members. Of the 11, nine are residents of Boston, Loconto said. Other members include:
•Pastor Samuel Acevedo, Boston Higher Education Resource Center.
•Carlos Brown, East Boston.
•Dr. Tanya Freeman-Wisdom, Hyde Park.
•Katherine Grassa, Dorchester.
•Carolyn Kain, Dorchester.
•Principal Craig Martin, Jamaica Plain and Condon Elementary principal.
•School Committeeman Michael O’Neill, Charlestown.
•Elvis Rodriguez, student at Snowden High and East Boston resident.
•Jessica Tang, Boston Teacher’s Union president and Dorchester resident.
Loconto noted that the Search Committee would be in charge of everything from “soup to nuts” in regard to finding a set of finalists to submit to the School Committee for a final decision.
The first order of business, likely to be taken care of this week, is for the Search Committee to draft an RFP for a search firm to assist them with the process.
This fall, the key business will be holding public meetings around the city in order to settle on a job description. While the description from 2014 is fairly fresh, Loconto said they would hold meetings from now until December all over the city and with several different organizations to review that job description and find out any new characteristics. Those dates are still being finalized, but will soon be set and advertised.
Once that is decided on, the process will streamline into early next year, when job interviews are expected.
“We’re on track to have a job description voted on at the Dec. 5 School Committee meeting,” he said. “We would publish it and then accept resumes through the end of the year.”
The Search Committee would recommend candidates to the School Committee after the first of the year. The first interviews would be held in executive session to protect the finalist’s confidentiality.
However, in January or February the expect to hold a series of public interviews, as was done in the 2014 process.