The Central Berkshire Regional School District may hire its next superintendent tonight.

Robert Putnum, the district's assistant superintendent, on Tuesday earned the favor of a panel of questioners during a three-hour interview at Nessacus Regional Middle School.

The body doing the questioning, a 10-member superintendent search committee, voted unanimously in favor of Putnum, who would succeed current district Superintendent William Cameron when he retires in June.

Kittredge Elementary School Principal Deborah White co-chaired the committee, which comprised parents, teachers, guidance counselors and others.

"We got into the nitty-gritty," White said. "We ended up with about 50 questions, which is why it was a three-hour interview. The fact that he's an internal candidate made us want to be all the more thorough."

A third party, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, who partnered in the search process, organized committee members' questions.

According to White, "[questions were] curriculum-related and dealt with budgetary matters, student achievement and his ability to get along with the community."

White said she came away satisfied.

"I'm going to be working very closely with this person so I was looking for leadership qualities and his ideas on how we can make improvements," she said.

The search committee's recommendation was to the appointing authority, the CBRSD school committee.

Michael Case, who chairs the CBRSD school committee, attended Tuesday's interview as an observer.

Case said he thinks the committee will hire Putnum at their meeting tonight.

"I think we have a very good candidate here," Case said. "I've never seen an interview as in-depth and long as this one. I was really impressed by his openness and honesty. He went through the gauntlet and handled it great."

A resident of Alford, Putnum dropped out of high school before deciding to seek his General Equivalency Diploma and followed that up by attaining bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts.

Putnum's doctorate is in curriculum study.

"Some people [on the search committee] didn't know him at all and walked away saying, ‘wow,' " Case said. "I'm excited by the perspective he'll bring to the district."

The CBRSD meeting is scheduled tonight at Nessacus at 7 p.m.

To reach Phil Demers:
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