n The Central Berkshire Regional School District Committee wants Robert Putnum, the district’s assistant superintendent, to interview for the top spot. Story Body:

n The Central Berkshire Regional School District Committee wants Robert Putnum, the district’s assistant superintendent, to interview for the top spot.

Members recently placed the administrator ahead of the competition by assigning a second committee the task of interviewing Putnum for superintendent.

With current Superintendent William Cameron Jr. set to retire in June, the move could shorten the search for his replacement by several months.

The 10-member superintendent search committee, organized in October, recently met to discuss the matter.

School Committee Chairman Michael Case said Putnum has indicated his willingness to take the position if the search committee favors his candidacy. The search committee will decide after the interview whether to recommend Putnum to the full school committee, the ultimate hiring authority.

Case sees several benefits in hiring Putnum.

"In the eastern part of the state, superintendents make around $300,000 a year; we’re not going to offer that," he said. "Maybe we’d get someone retired from a larger district to come out here for a year or so. But we’re looking for a long-term commitment."

The district’s superintendent salary is in the $100,000 range, Case said.


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On the other hand, School Committee member John Conner -- an elected representative of Hinsdale -- prefers the district follow through with a more extensive search before interviewing candidates.

Conner cast the lone dissenting vote against having the committee interview Putnum early during a school committee meeting this month.

"I just think there’s a lot of talent available," Conner said. "The committee should go looking for the most qualified people."

Putnum’s hat should be in the ring, Conner said, but others should also be considered.

The School Committee allocated $10,000 to facilitate a broad superintendent search with assistance from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Conner said.

"It makes more sense to me to complete the process," Conner said. "You end up with more choices."

The district would recoup some of the funds if Putnum is hired in the near term.

The next School Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

"I would assume [the search committee] would have interviewed [Putnum] by that time," Case said.

The search committee is chaired by Peter Gazillo, of Dalton, and co-chaired by Kittredge Elementary School Principal Deborah White. Parents, teachers and school committee members comprise the rest of the body.

To reach Phil Demers:
pdemers@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD