By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff
PITTSFIELD -- The School Committee will soon solicit candidates for a new school superintendent with the hope of filling the position within the next five months.
The committee, assisted by a Boston-area consulting firm, anticipates formally advertising for applicants in mid-October, ac cording to Chair man Al fred E. "Alf" Barbalunga. By March 1, the board has vowed vote on a successor to Howard "Jake" Eberwein III. Eberwein left the city school district June 30 and has since taken a job at the Mas sachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.
Barbalunga and representatives from Future Management Systems of Beverly feel the search should resume in earnest.
"I already know prospective superintendent candidates are being interviewed in the state," Barbalunga said.
William Garr, executive vice president of Future Manage ment, is anxious to meet the March 1 deadline.
"We want to get someone [hired] by January or February, after that you don’t have prime candidates to chose from," Garr said.
The School Committee’s initial search began shortly after Eberwein announced in early January he was leaving the district for personal and professional reasons, after a four-year stint as the city’s top educator.
More than 40 Massa chusetts school districts had superintendent searches well under way, limiting the pool of qualified candidates, school officials said at the time. The School Committee, with assistance from the Massachusetts Association of School Com mittees (MASC), received nine applicants, with a search committee recommending one finalist for the position.
However, the committee voted May 9 against offering the position to Reza Namin, superintendent of the Spen cer-East Brookfield Regional School District.
In late June, the board hired Gordon Noseworthy as interim superintendent for one year, providing more time to hire a permanent replacement for Eberwein.
On Thursday, the seven-member panel unanimously chose Future Management over two other consulting firms after the committee interviewed all three.
"I think they had the best presentation and they did their homework," said committee member Terry Kinnas, prior to the vote.
Future Management will also help the School Com mittee form a search committee to develop a list of semifinal candidates, according to city school officials. The School Committee would interview the semifinalists and determine who will be invited back for a final interview, before offering the position to one of the finalists.
In addition, the consultant firm plans to seek plenty of public input through focus groups, individual interviews with community leaders and a survey.
"We will spend a lot of time finding a good match between the person [hired] and the school system," said Garr.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233