SHEFFIELD >> The chairwoman of the Executive Evaluation Subcommittee of the Southern Berkshire Regional School Committee said on Thursday that the search has begun for a replacement for present superintendent David Hastings, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Chairwoman Bonnie Silver said her subcommittee has already met to begin the preliminary steps for the search and is hopeful the district can have a replacement for Hastings signed by March.

"That's our hope," she cautioned. "That's what we're looking at [time-wise]."

And as one official leaves, Southern Berkshire welcomed another. Elementary Principal Mary Turo, who was hired in mid-August. She replaces outgoing administrator Stacy Burgess.

"Mary started teaching in 1984," said Hastings, adding that Turo was an assistant superintendent in Lexington for two years and has served as Principal of Farmington River Elementary School for five years.

Silver said yesterday that her committee's first task will be to hire a consultant, either an individual or company, to assist the district in the search.

Although the district may have the resources in-house to commence the search, Silver said the subcommittee believes an independent voice in the process is a key element. Considering the possibility of embarking on the search without outside guidance, she said, "I just don't think it's a great idea."

She said the committee would ultimately hope to attract a number of candidates for the post.


"You need a strong leader," she said. "We think we're a very unique district, and you need someone who looks at things in a unique way.

"We think we have a lot to offer a candidate fore the position," she said.

The subcommittee is presently putting together focus groups to glean what the community would like to see in a new superintendent. The focus groups would contain local parents, businessmen, local elected and appointed officials and school administrators, she said.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.