This article has been updated with comments from BOE President Beth Daugherty.
The South Orange – Maplewood Board of Education (BOE) will make input from parents, teachers and students a key part of the search for a new superintendent of schools when Brian Osborne leaves at the end of the month.
In an letter emailed to community members Thursday, BOE President Beth Daugherty said the board will direct the search firm it hires to hold a series of public forums to gather opinions on the highest priority qualifications for a new Superintendent.
The full text of the letter can be found here: Update on Superintendent Search
“The Board realizes that the Superintendent plays a pivotal role in the life of both the district and of the larger community,” said Daugherty in the letter. “We look forward to your input as we identify priorities for qualifications for the next leader of our district.”
Daugherty said in an email to The Village Green the board wants to move quickly on hiring a consultant “because one of the things that the consultant will assist the Board with is soliciting stakeholder input to created a leadership profile and search criteria, similar to the last search process. We want to make sure this process starts before school lets out.”
The Board expects to approve a search firm at its next meeting on June 16, said Daugherty, and has targeted January 1, 2015 as a deadline to hire a permanent superintendent.
The district began soliciting proposals for a superintendent search consultant last week. Osborne recently announced he is leaving at the end of the month to head the New Rochelle (NY) school district.
At the last BOE meeting, several members of the public urged the board to include parents, teachers and community members in the search, which they said had not been done eight years ago when Osborne was hired.
Daugherty said that was not accurate. “The search firm that was used to hire Dr. Osborne did hold forums with stakeholder groups to build a leadership profile and search criteria for the new superintendent,” she said, adding that she participated in those forums as both a parent and a Columbia High School HSA board member.
“I believe the BOE at that time was pleased with the process and we certainly have been pleased with the results – Dr. Osborne,” said Daugherty.
Daugherty said the board always intended to make community input a key component of the search process. “We know it is important to hear from a wide range of stakeholders in order to build a leadership profile that accurately reflects the communities’ priorities,” she said.
The BOE will appoint assistant superintendent for administration James Memoli as acting superintendent effective July 1, until it hires an interim superintendent from outside the district. Daugherty said the board has reached out to a number of potential interim candidates, and a board committee will begin interviewing them.
The community forums will likely take place in the next few weeks, and dates will be shared with the public as soon as they are scheduled.