Published: 1/28/2020 12:37:55 PM
The Concord School Board has released an online survey and scheduled several February focus group meetings for community members to help select a new superintendent of schools, board president Jennifer Patterson announced Tuesday.
Two community focus group sessions are scheduled for Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at Broken Ground School, and two on Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Concord High School. Parents, students, school staff and other Concord residents are welcome to attend.
The focus group sessions, facilitated by the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) based out of Marlborough, Mass., a firm contracted by the district to help with the search process, are designed to obtain participant input about the attributes, experience and knowledge that the new superintendent should possess, Patterson wrote in a press release.
The groups also provide an opportunity for participants to identify immediate tasks that the new superintendent should address when he or she steps into office.
The board expects to select a new superintendent in early April, with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2020, Patterson said.
The survey, which will remain open until Feb. 10, is also designed to collect community feedback on the search process.
On Jan. 16, the Concord School Board met with representatives from NESDEC. Patterson said part of the reason the board selected NESDEC was its commitment to public engagement in the search process.
“There will be ample importunities for community involvement and input and we are really, really wanting the community to be involved,” Patterson said during the Jan. 16 meeting.
In mid-February, NESDEC will present a report to the board summarizing the community input obtained from the meetings and survey responses. The board will then use this information to develop a candidate profile emphasizing the qualities most important to the community, Patterson said.
Using this profile, an applicant screening committee composed of school and community members – including board members Tom Croteau and Danielle Smith – will review applications on a confidential basis from early to mid-March.
The committee will identify finalists to be considered by the board, which will make the final selection of a candidate after interviews and further opportunity for public input in late March and early April.
NESDEC will be paid approximately $17,760 for its services, according to a cost proposal from the firm submitted the board.
Concord schools have been run by an interim superintendent, Frank Bass, since former superintendent Terri Forsten’s departure in early November.
The school board voted to terminate the contracts of both Forsten and Concord High School principal Tom Sica after reading a confidential report by an investigator into school officials’ handling of misconduct reports leading up to a teacher’s arrest for sexual assault last year.