Three Finalists to Interview for Pittsfield Superintendent

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The School Committee is preparing to interview three finalists for the post of superintendent of schools.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three candidates will be interviewed over the next two weeks for the position of school superintendent in what the School Committee hopes will result in the culmination of a troubled yearlong quest to fill the job left vacant by Howard "Jake" Eberwein last spring.  

The three finalists, Ann Bradshaw, Jason McCandless and William Hart, emerged from a pool of 18 applicants responding to a revised search conducted with the help of consultants from Future Management Systems, which included an increase in the salary range from $125,000 to a range of $150,00-$170,000. The three were chosen out of six semifinalists interviewed in executive session by a new screening committee convened this month.

"We're getting better at this as we go along," said School Committee Chairman Alfred "Alf" Barbalunga Jr.

A previous superintendent screening committee last spring produced only one finalist candidate, Reza Namin, out of four interviewed; six other candidates removed their application prior to screening. The regular School Committee voted unanimously not to offer the job to the sole finalist, and the position is currently being filled on a one-year interim basis by Gordon Noseworthy, a retired superintendent who was chosen in June following the unsuccessful outcome of the first superintendent search.

Ann Bradshaw has served since 2005 as superintendent for Mashpee, a 1,700 student school district on Cape Cod. Bradshaw is also currently being considered for a superintendency of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School district. In April, the school committee voted unanimously to offer her a position out of a range of finalists there, but were unable to come to agreement on contract specifics. 

William Hart is assistant superintendent for the 3,500 student Pentucket Regional School District composed of West Newbury, Groveland and Merrimac. In the past year, Hart was a finalist for superintendent slots in Framingham, Scituate and Hamilton, as well as in York, Maine. Both Hart and Bradshaw both interviewed as finalists for superintendent of Weymouth's 7,000 student school district, a position that ultimately went to Boston school district administrator Kenneth Salim.

Jason McCandless, the only candidate hailing from within Berkshire County, is the current head of the Lee Public School District of 864 students. McCandless has been in the Lee public school system since 2002, first as principal of Lee Middle and High School, and as superintendent since 2005.  

"You will get a tremendous amount of information to make a final decision on which candidate to go with," said Future Management's William Garr, who told the School Committee the company provides a considerable amount of reference checking.

In addition to cautioning committee members about common no-no's in interview questions, including those that could be considered discriminatory, Garr urged them to prepare questions for finalizing prior to the beginning of interviews.

The three interviews will take place on Jan. 28, 29, and Feb. 4.

The following are short career biographies provided to iBerkshires:

Ann Bradshaw, with 16 years' experience as a central office administrator and eight years as a superintendent, has demonstrated excellent leadership and management skills. She is currently the superintendent of schools in Mashpee and has been the director of curriculum and assistant superintendent in Falmouth for nine years. She was also a teacher for eight years in the Falmouth School District. Both Falmouth and Mashpee have seen significant improvement in student achievement during her respective tenures.   Her current district of Mashpee has been awarded and honored many times for their Advance Placement courses. Financial management of the district's budget has also been a high priority for Bradshaw and to this end, a budget report is released every month for the School Committee and community to review. Bradshaw focuses on community involvement, being visible and available to the community at large. She has built strong community support for the district. Bradshaw has her [master of education] from Bridgewater State University and has earned a C.A.G.S from Fitchburg State College.

Jason McCandless has been a superintendent for the past eight years in the Lee Public Schools and was formerly the Middle and High School principal in Lee for a combined total of three years. He was an English teacher and department head in Mineral, Va., for 10 years. McCandless has successfully led the Lee district through a strategic planning process, as well as establishing the Lee Fund for Educational Excellence, an endowment of over $100,000. He has a strong knowledge of school finances, curriculum/instruction, leadership and management and successfully led an to raise student achievement. He holds an [doctor of education] in educational leadership from Boston College and a [master of education] in educational leadership from the University of Virginia.

William Hart has been the assistant superintendent in Pentucket Regional School District since 2005, has been a high school principal in Leominster and RSU13 in Maine for a combined total of 13 years and a teacher in Andover High School for seven years. Hart's 21 years of administration experience and many awards for outstanding performance, including Teacher of the Year, demonstrates his skill and dedication to increasing student achievement. As assistant superintendent, he has focused on teaching and the learning process, as well as developing professional learning communities committed to student improvement. Hart earned his [doctor of education] in school administration from Nova Southeastern University. He has been published in educational journal and has given many presentations at educational conferences, including ASCD Annual Conference and the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Conference.

Tags: search committee,   superintendent,   

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