December 6, 2016
By LEAH DEARBORN
PEABODY — The Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) will be the search engine used as the town looks to replace Interim Superintendent Herbert W. Levine.
School committee member Brandi Carpenter outlined three options available in looking for the district’s new educational leader at Monday night’s meeting. They included assembling a private search committee, asking MASC to conduct a partial search, or allowing MASC to conduct the entire search. The committee voted on the third choice to expedite the process.
The superintendent search will need to be finished by the beginning of March 2017 in order to give the candidate time to give notice before leaving another district, said committee member Tom Rossignoll.
“My only reservation with MASC is that you leave out public input,” said Rossignoll. “But when you have a large search committee, it’s hard to keep moving in a timely procession.”
Mayor Edward Bettencourt, Jr. said the MASC search will require a fee of $9,500 that is only paid out to the association upon the successful hiring of a candidate.
Committee member Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne suggested that focus group meetings and surveys be conducted in the future as a means of monitoring public response to the search.
Rossignoll said the district will be in competition with at least six other towns and cities in the state that are also looking to hire a new superintendent.
“There are only 15 or 20 people in the state who qualify for this position,” said committee member Joseph Amico. “I don’t want to lose someone over pennies. I want to keep someone for 10 years.”
The search will likely start off by offering a salary in the ballpark of $170,000, making the superintendent position one of the most highly paid in the city. Multiple committee members agreed the ideal candidate will have significant experience in education, an advanced degree and some business acumen.
The committee agreed to solicit the advice of MASC before posting an official advertisement.