As Lee-Tyringham School Committee searches for full-time schools chief, Hastings will steer district

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LEE — After the withdrawal of a second potential candidate, the Lee-Tyringham School Union 29 Committee has tapped a temporary superintendent while it pursues a search for a long-term school district leader.

David Hastings, who retired as superintendent of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in June 2017, will be at the helm starting Dec. 3, after a two-week transitional crossover with the departing part-time interim Superintendent Howard "Jake" Eberwein III.

Working up to three days a week, depending on his availability, Hastings' daily pay rate will be $500 to $550. The contract to be negotiated on behalf of the committee by Amy Puntin, the school union chairwoman, will be open-ended.

His term will depend on when the supervisory school union group names a new full-time superintendent, said Andrea Wadsworth, vice chairwoman of the Lee-Tyringham Committee. The committee voted 4-0 with one abstention Tuesday night to hire Hastings for the interim post.

After the withdrawal of William Travis, who had indicated potential interest in the opening until he learned of Hastings' candidacy, "the committee wholeheartedly supported the nomination of Hastings," Wadsworth told The Eagle. Travis was superintendent of Mount Greylock Regional School District in Williamstown from 2005 to 2010 and of Pittsfield Public Schools from 1998 to 2005.

Wadsworth, a Lee resident, explained that she abstained from the unanimous committee vote because she technically still is the district's business administrator, using up vacation days. She is assistant superintendent of the Mount Greylock district and chairs the Lee School Committee.

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The Lee-Tyringham committee will continue preliminary work on its full-time superintendent search this month, partnering with Liz Lafond, field director for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Lafond will screen initial applicants for the post to determine qualifications and will provide support services, including preparation of a brochure designed to attract candidates and a program to advertise the position. She has emphasized that all search decisions remain with the school union supervisory committee.

The contract with the association specifies $9,500 for Lafond's services, plus up to $2,500 in expenses, with a total estimated potential cost of as much as $14,000, depending on search results.

If there are more than seven or eight applicants, the school union group could form a search subcommittee to narrow the pool with the assistance of the association.

Hastings, 70, has described himself as a "nurturer and a healer-type person." As a part-time interim, he has told the school union committee, he would steer a middle course in order not to tie the hands of an incoming full-time superintendent.

Lenox is conducting its own search for a full-time superintendent, but the town's School Committee has decided not to consider a possible shared-superintendent arrangement with Lee, after an overture from Wadsworth to begin discussions of a shared-services top administrator.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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