Pittsfield school superintendent search to start on Halloween

Thursday October 11, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- On Hallo ween, the School Committee will start soliciting candidates for a new school superintendent with the hope of filling the position four months later.

The committee on Wednesday night agreed to formally advertise for applicants on Oct. 31 and by the end of February, choose a successor to Howard "Jake" Eberwein III. Eberwein left the city school district June 30 and has since taken a job at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.

In between the advertisement date and the school board's expected vote on Feb. 27, the seven-member panel will rely heavily on a superintendent search committee, assisted by a Boston-based consulting firm, to review resumes and conduct semifinalist interviews before recommending three finalists for the job.

"The vast majority of your candidates will likely come from Massachusetts and New Eng land," said William Garr, executive vice president of Future Management Systems of Beverly.

The School Committee will interview the finalists in a public forum before deciding if one them with be the city's next top educator.

The committee also agreed to offer a salary range of $150,000 to $170,000 -- $25,000 to $45,000 more than what Eberwein was earning before he left the school district. However, Eberwein never accepted a pay raise above his annual $125,000 salary during his four years as superintendent.

While the new schools chief won't be required to live in Pittsfield, the committee felt he or she must be invested in the city and its school system.

Nevertheless, the superintendent should still live in -- or at least close to -- Pittsfield, according to School Committee member Daniel C. Elias.

"Part of being superintendent is being visible," Elias said. "If you don't live here, you can't be visible."

As applications come in, the consultant will be seeking public input on what type of school superintendent city residents want through focus groups, individual interviews and an online survey.

The information gathered will be used to develop a leadership profile of the person best suited to run the school district.

"That's the guiding document that each candidate will be judged by," Garr said.

The School Committee's initial search began shortly after Eberwein announced in early January he was leaving the district for personal and professional reasons, after a four-year stint as the city's top educator.

More than 40 Massachusetts school districts had superintendent searches well under way, limiting the pool of qualified candidates, school officials said at the time. The School Committee, with assistance from the Massachusetts Asso ciation of School Committees (MASC), received nine applicants, with a search committee recommending one finalist for the position.

However, the committee voted May 9 against offering the position to Reza Namin, superintendent of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District.

In late June, the board hired Gordon Noseworthy as interim superintendent for one year, providing more time to hire a permanent replacement for Eberwein.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.

In search of ...

Later this month, the Pittsfield School Committee will officially seek candidates to become the city's next school superintendent. The successor will replace Howard ‘Jake' Eberwein III who resigned.

n Oct. 31, Committee to formally advertise for new superintendent; applications due Nov. 16.

n Nov. 14, First meeting of the search committee.

n Dec. 12 & 13, search committee conducts semifinalist interviews.

n Jan. 9, search panel recommends finalists to School Committee, for public interviews.

n Feb. 27, School committee to vote on appointing a new superintendent.


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