North Adams School Committee expects to wrap up new superintendent's contract next week


NORTH ADAMS — The School Committee expects to finalize a new contract with recently appointed Superintendent Barbara Malkas next week.

If a contract can be negotiated between the school committee and Malkas, she will take over this summer for retiring Superintendent James Montepare, who served in the position for more than a decade and has worked in the district for more than 40 years.

Mayor Richard Alcombright, who is also the chairman of the School Committee, has spearheaded contract negotiations with Malkas since the committee unanimously voted to appoint her on April 25.

Malkas is currently the superintendent of Webster Public Schools, a position she has held since 2012. Despite her work in the eastern part of her state, Malkas lives in the Berkshires and has professional roots as an assistant superintendent at Pittsfield Public Schools and an assistant Principal at McCann Technical School in North Adams.

Alcombright expects the contract details to be ironed out and approved by Malkas this week before the pact heads to the full committee for final approval on May 11.

The proposed contract will not be released prior to the meeting, according to Alcombright. It will be discussed by the committee in executive session, after which a vote will occur in open session.

An agenda for the meeting calls for a welcoming and the introduction of Malkas following the vote.

Though the specifics of the contract proposal will not be immediately released, the city advertised the position through the Massachusetts Association of School Committees at a range of $125,000 to $135,000, according to Alcombright, though the committee is not bound by that range.

At Webster Public Schools, Malkas earned a salary of $158,736 in fiscal 2016, and was slated to earn $168,461 in fiscal 2017.

Malkas' selection was the culmination of a months-long search for Montepare's replacement, following his announcement in January that he intended to retire on April 1.

He has since signed on as interim superintendent until July 1, and it's not yet clear when Malkas would be able to start if she inks a contract.

An 11-member search committee narrowed down a pool of applicants to two finalists — Malkas and Dr. Stephen Donovan, the superintendent Acushnet Public Schools. Following a site visit with each candidate and extensive interviews, the committee approved Malkas.

At Webster, Malkas currently oversees a district with an enrollment of 1,894 students, compared to North Adams' 1,463 students, according to state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data.

The districts have similar numbers of students with high needs, disabilities or economic disadvantages, according to state data.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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