Published: 06/14/2022 21:26:44
Modified: 06/14/2022 21:24:28
NORTHAMPTON — The school board is “receiving nominations for an acting superintendent for Northampton Public Schools,” Vice President Gwen Agna said at a special meeting held virtually Tuesday evening.
The committee has drafted a job posting to fill the interim position upon the departure of Superintendent John Provost, who will begin as superintendent of the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District on July 1. Human Resources will post the position and applications must be received by June 27.
Agna, a former Jackson Street School principal, said she worked under 11 superintendents, three of them acting, and that selecting a temporary district leader is usually “a quick process.”
“I think it’s a pretty simple process and it gives the district a chance to breathe, pause” and consider the most desirable qualities in a permanent superintendent, Agna said.
The committee also voted in favor of establishing a selection committee to eventually review applications for permanent superintendents.
When reviewing internal candidates for the interim position, “I am concerned about removing the current administrators from” their roles, said Ward 5 member Dina Levi.
Levi added that it is “extremely important” to “infuse DEI language throughout” the post – referencing diversity, equity and inclusion. She suggested including a sentence at the top to make it clear that nominees should demonstrate how “they contribute and will work to support a very diverse community.”
The acting superintendent will be expected to collaborate with the school committee and provide regular updates on equity initiatives, teacher retention, COVID-19 policies and protocols, and school safety.
Applicants must have experience as a superintendent or assistant superintendent.
Provost said “you need someone with a Massachusetts license” that qualifies him to serve as superintendent or assistant superintendent, but out-of-state applicants may be able to use their equivalent licenses .
Many other districts are currently looking for superintendents, Provost said, including temps, and there will likely be a competitive hiring market. He added that “many” retired superintendents still live in the city and might be interested.
“Central office is going to have to recreate itself” once Provost completes his eight-year term, Ward 6 member Margaret Miller said. After a tough few years for the district, she said, acting superintendent should be someone who “works well with others”.
Miller said the job posting for the permanent superintendent will be drafted at an upcoming meeting.
The school committee would negotiate the salary with the successful candidate in contract negotiations behind closed doors. The post would last “up to a year,” the post said.
If enough applications are not received by June 27, in less than two weeks, school committee chair Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra said the deadline could be extended.
Brian Steele can be contacted at [email protected]