PITTSFIELD -- Despite efforts to attract minority candidates, only one person of color has thus far applied for the three principal positions in Pittsfield schools.

Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless gave School Committee members an update on the search. He reported that the advertisements had attracted 18 applicants for the job at Conte Community School, 25 for Allendale Elementary School and 20 for Herberg Middle School.

According to the posting, a screening committee was to begin reviewing the applications on Feb. 10, but the positions would remain open until officials believe they have the right principal candidates.

Of those who applied, McCandless said, six seeking the Conte post, seven applying for the Allendale job and seven seeking the Herberg principalship met all of the basic requirements the school system is hoping to find in leaders for those schools.

"Only one person of color has applied," the superintendent said.

Facing criticism over the small number of African-American educators in Pittsfield schools and in municipal departments, city and school officials have broadened searches for new employees, particularly through publications or websites with a diverse readership.

For the school system, that has meant joining and posting jobs with the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education, as well as advertising with teachersofcolor.com, edweek.org, schoolspring.com, and state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education online resources. Ads also were posted in newspapers in the region.

McCandless said the lack of minority candidates was one reason the search will continue and there will be a new effort to reach potential applicants. Another is to ensure all qualified candidates learn about the three openings and have a chance to apply, he said, adding that the search already has drawn a number of good candidates.

The three positions will become open as of July 1.

The principal searches are to be done on a school-by-school basis and the goal is to conclude by mid-April. Finalist interviews will include time for professional and social interactions and an opportunity for the candidates to get to know the community, McCandless has said.

For the finalists, there will be day-long school and district visit with students, parents, faculty, other staff members, other principals and the administrative executive team, he said.

The interview committee will include the superintendent or a designee, and at least two or more teachers, staff members and parents/community members and a current principal.

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