I believe the school committee has voted to initiate a "parallel process." Hiring an interim at the same time as we begin the process of hiring a permanent superintendent.
As I understand it, we voted to begin the interim process from within and then post outside the district if that did not produce a successful candidate (I opposed that for a range of reasons and am actually somewhat surprised it is legal but it is what it is.)
Then we will create a committee, ostensibly including members of the community and hopefully officials from the member towns, to hire a permanent super. As I understand it the interim will be allowed to apply for the permanent position.
I think the key is to try to create some sort of compromise between the two visions within the committee (and I feel within the district and even member towns) as to what the future of the district should be. The conflicts on the committee are not simply issues of personality or bad manners, although there are plenty of problems there,. The sooner we admit that and try to create something resembling a common vision the more likely we will be to have a stable superintendent situation.
The issues with the district and school committee have been going on since I came here thirteen years ago . With one exception there were different members of the committee back then but it was pretty divided and a very unpopular organization. We have also had seven superintendents and have lost nearly 1/3 of our students since then. You can not simply blame that on the current personalities on the committee, which some seem to be doing. There is a structural problem and a vision problem. The state and member towns also play a role.
I do not think you solve the problem just by changing the faces or establishing a bunch of rules (norms). I am not saying don't do that but it does not get to the heart of the problem.
"Mike N: I did state that current employees could be grandfathered in. Art"
Art - I did see that, but what happens when the current employees have retired or otherwise moved on? I just think that a requirement to only hire town residents would unnecessarily limit the pool of available candidates ....
Something else occurred to me, too. We now have a fin comm member who spent years working for the town of Amherst. He brings that perspective to our deliberations, which I find useful. Had Amherst had a residency requirement, he would have had to live there, in which case he'd probably still be living there and he wouldn't be on our fin comm .....
Nadine may live an hour or more away, but she worked in the district before being interim superintendent. She was director of special education and perhaps held other duties prior to that. In my opinion, her understanding of the district made her effective, and I really wanted her to stay. Apparently, some on the school committee did not, though I have yet to hear a reason.
Art, I also agree with you about GMRSD's trying to hire from within. But, sadly, the Town of Montague has a long history of thinking the residents of the town don't know what they're doing and so hire / contract from outside, sometimes way outside.
I agree with you about GMRSD's trying to hire from within. Looking at other districts, it seems to me that successful superintendents seem to have "come up through the ranks", which has the advantages of a) knowing the system you're about to lead and b) being willing to stick around for a while. Sadly, the last super we had in that category was (IMHO) a disaster, but our experience with "outsiders" hasn't been much better. Here's hoping the next one will FINALLY be the right one! :-)
On the other hand, I'm not sure about a residency requirement for town employees. Some of our most impressive town employees live elsewhere, and I wouldn't want to lose their services if they refused to move. On top of that, I wouldn't want to deny our own citizens the opportunity to work for other towns (who might follow suit if we adopted such a policy). There's a lot to be said for living and working in Montague -- I do it, and I like it. But the reality of today's world is that many people commute, and I'm not sure what we would gain by such a restrictive policy.
With all of the problems that we have in finding a Superintendent that will stay, why not select from within the GMRSD. The Turners Falls Fire Department always seems to find an excellent Fire Chief who lives within the community why not the SC?
Perhaps it is now time to consider a residency requirement for all town employees, but grandfather those that are already employed. This would be a benefit to the town as those employees living in town who either rent or own property would have a positive impact on the local economy. Art Gilmore