SAU 6 Board Hires NH School Boards Assoc. to Help with Superintendent Search
Cost Placed at $12,000
At its Thursday meeting, the SAU 6 board approved a letter of agreement with the New Hampshire School Boards Association (NHABA) for it to assist the board in its search for a new, permanent superintendent. The position is currently being filled by an interim superintendent, Dr. Keith Pfeifer.
Information on how the work would be carried out was presented to the board by Barrett Christina, executive director of the NHSBA, and Bill Bryan and Alan Pardy, consultants in the education field who work with the organization.
Christina told board members that their most important duty was selecting a superintendent, adding, “We’re your professional organization to help you.” He said they provide this kind of assistance four to six times a year on average, and that each search is a “little bit different”, with each board, district and SAU having varying needs. He admitted that it is “a very difficult market right now” with the number of candidates shrinking. Years ago, he said, they could count on getting 25 to 30 qualified applicants; now, he said, the number is more in the 10-to-15 applicant range.
Part of preparing for the search will be honing in on the criteria being sought for the position. Things to be looked at it will be leadership style, adaptability and flexibility, and qualities that can be measured. Interviews will run two to three hours during the application process.
Board members overall were supportive of hiring NHSBA to help; the cost was placed at $12,000. Unity Board member Sara Lowe said that the help would be “data-driven expertise…If we’re going to do this, we should follow their recommendations.”
One area not settled Thursday evening was that of a search committee. Board members said they felt it would be best to include members of the community; Christina recommended against that, saying that that can lead to a high number of members, making it more difficult to manage. If the board was going to go in that direction, he said, he would recommend having no more than nine people and have it possibly include two board members from each town, one or two from staff and one or two from the community. The board took no action on finalizing the committee makeup Thursday evening.
Claremont School Board member Steve Horsky called for more detail in the contract, saying it was rather vague “and open ended” when it came to any future expenses that might crop up. Other board members said that those could be voted on at that time should such issues arise. He abstained from voting, having arrived late for the meeting due to a family matter and not having all the information due to his absence and his concerns about the wording of the contract, he later said.