Outgoing North Adams Public Schools superintendent agrees to stay on until successor hired

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NORTH ADAMS — As the School Committee prepares for in-depth interviews with its final two superintendent candidates, it has inked an interim contract with current Superintendent James Montepare to provide coverage in the meantime.

After meeting in executive session, the committee on Tuesday signed off on a per diem agreement with Superintendent James Montepare. The per diem rate is not expected to exceed his current rate of pay, which is already budgeted for.

Under the agreement, Montepare will stay on until July 1 or when a new superintendent is hired. It takes effect retroactively to his retirement on April 1.

"We're pleased that Jim is extending his contract to stay on until we find a permanent replacement," said North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, who also serves as the School Committee's chairman.

Montepare announced his intentions to retire earlier this year, prompting the School Committee to launch a search for his replacement prior to the next school year.

An 11-member search committee narrowed down the pool of applicants to two finalists — Stephen Donovan, superintendent of Acushnet Public Schools and Barbara Malkas, superintendent at Webster Public Schools — who will host on-site visits from the School Committee this week before visiting North Adams for a final interview later this month.

Now as a per diem employee, Montepare will no longer receive employee benefits such as paid vacation time, but does qualify for post-employment benefits now that his retirement has taken effect.

"If they need me, I come in and they pay me," Montepare said.

Following the executive session, the School Committee voted on and unanimously approved a new contract with the district's teachers assistants.

Alcombright said the details of that contract could not yet be made public because teachers assistants "have not yet executed the agreement." Once they do, it will be publicly available, Alcombright said.

In a second meeting held Tuesday night, the committee discussed its approach to superintendent candidate interviews and site visits. Malkas is scheduled for an interview in North Adams on Monday, while Donovan has been slated for Wednesday.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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