LENOX -- Three finalists for a one-year position as interim schools superintendent -- including Morris Elementary School Principal Timothy Lee -- have been tapped for interviews by the search committee at a public meeting this Monday.
While progress remains slow on the school department’s strategic study, now in its ninth month, the three-member search group is moving swiftly to fill the position being vacated by Superintendent Edward W. Costa, 55. He is retiring as of June 30 after four years in Lenox.
Each candidate will get about 50 minutes to make their case before the search committee, said its leader, School Committee Vice-Chairwoman Veronica Fenton. The committee will vote on its choice at the Monday meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. The goal is to have a new leader on the job as soon as possible after July 1.
A vote on the selected candidate is expected during the full School Committee meeting on Monday, June 23, at Town Hall, starting at 7 p.m.
Joining Lee among the final three are two out-of-area candidates: Phyllis Dubina of Ipswich, currently the acting pre-K to 5 assistant superintendent in the Beverly Public Schools, and Elaine F. Laine of Stowe, Vt., who retired last June 30 after serving for one year as director of curriculum, instruction and assessment in the Barre, Vt., district.
They were selected from 13 applicants who submitted resumes by the May 30 deadline. At its meeting last Monday evening, the search committee -- Fenton. Robert Vaughan and Frances Sorrentino -- sifted through the applications and narrowed them down to six, four and then three. Vaughan and Sorrentino are also members of the full School Committee.
No salary for the interim position has been determined, said Fenton. The terms will be the subject of closed-door negotiations with the chosen candidate. Costa’s current annual salary is $115,000.
Lee, 49, is a Great Barrington resident and is licensed as a superintendent. He began his 25-year career in education as a Spanish teacher. He has 18 years of experience as a principal or school director in Connecticut and Wisconsin. He became principal of Morris Elementary in 2008, where he now earns $100,066. He had been pursuing several superintendent positions elsewhere in the state during the past year.
Before her current post in Beverly, Dubina had served as principal of public elementary schools in Wakefield and Peabody, and she was interim principal at the MacArthur Elementary School in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod. According to published reports, that school had been ranked a Level 3 school -- in the bottom 20 percent of schools in Massachusetts -- when she began there and rose to Level 1 by the end of her tenure.
She taught for 15 years in Chelsea and Winthrop public schools, then served as a curriculum specialist in Burlington and Somerville.
Laine, who has a Massachusetts superintendent certification, began her career in the Fairfax County, Va., public schools, where she spent 24 years as a teacher and assistant principal. After moving to Vermont, prior to her final position in Barre, she was an elementary school principal in Middlesex, an interim principal for pre-K through grade 12 in the Washington Central Supervisory Union, and a middle and high school principal for five years in Hardwick, part of the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union.
The Lenox district decided to seek a one-year interim superintendent because of potential collaboration with other districts to be explored as one possible outcome of the strategic study.
"I don’t want anyone to feel that we’re no longer looking at collaboration," School Committee Chairman Don W. Fitzgerald said during a recent School Committee session. "The dilemma here is that we have such a tight time frame that the idea is to get an interim who can work with us in developing a cohesive look at collaboration."
The Lenox school district has been approached by four others -- Lee-Tyringham, Richmond, Berkshire Hills and Southern Berkshire -- interested in exploring some form of collaboration involving shared services and people.