Ramos: SOMSD Begins Search Anew for Director of Special Services

by Mary Mann
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After conducting interviews with several candidates, the South Orange-Maplewood School District has decided to go back to the well and find a new batch of candidates to vie for the position of Director of Special Services.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos broke the news to the public at the Board of Education meeting on Monday night. Ramos said that he would not be recommending a candidate for the job as previously scheduled because the “round of interviews did not result in a recommendation for a second interview.”

Ramos said the problem was that the first attempt to hire for the position did not yield a “big enough pool of candidates.” Ramos said that the district and Atlantic Research Partners, the consultant hired to conduct the search, have reopened the search and reposted the position. Ramos said that the district’s “partnership with Atlantic Research continues.” He also note that the district was working to have an interim director in place by January.

Dr. Leo Nunery of Atlantic Research met with the community on November 3 to discuss the search, then meet with individual stakeholders such as the Special Education Parents Advisory Committee throughout November, conducted a survey and then conducted round 1 interviews on December 12. No candidates were recommended for second interviews.

The search is to replace outgoing Director of Special Services Ella Rideau, who announced her retirement early in the school year.

Community members such as Jane Bleasdale lauded the decision to try for a better pool of candidates. “Thank you for not hiring a Director of Special Services speedily,” Bleasdale told district leadership during public comments on Monday night.

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