Pittsfield Principal Search Stymied By Lack of Diversity
The School Committee agreed to extend a search for three school principals to attract a larger pool of diverse candidates.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite the fact that an enhanced personnel search to fill three available principal jobs in the district has garnered some worthwhile prospects, Superintendent Jason McCandless says he would like to extend the search to try to attract more demographically diverse applicants.
"It's not a race, there's not a prize for being done the quickest," McCandless assured the School Committee on Monday. "There is a prize for being sure that we find the best people to lead our schools, and we need a little more time to do that."
In total, there were 18 applicants for the leadership post at Conte Community School, 25 for Allendale Elementary and 20 for Herberg Middle School, but only seven applicants in each pool met the specified criteria to qualify for consideration.
"We feel that we've cast the net about as far as we can cast," McCandless said of a search that had made particular efforts to advertise the positions to a wider base of minority educators. "However, we have only one applicant of color who has applied, and that's for all three of these jobs."
McCandless told the committee he intended to extend the search for applicants for two to three more weeks, as the department's human resource staff works on more research and outreach to determine if there are more ways to market the vacancies to qualified potential applicants of color.
This will not greatly impact the overall timetable for filling these positions for the fall, McCandless said. The search plan agreed upon early last month specified that review of applications would begin by Feb. 10, but the postings would continue to be open until they are filled.
"We built in some flexibility on that end, so we can keep doing this until we're satisfied that we have the right mix of people," McCandless said.
"I am sure that we have excellent applicants already in this mix. I know that we have some wonderful internal applicants for these jobs," he told the committee. "But we really want to go the extra mile to try to meet up with the goals we have set for ourselves, to have a more diverse leadership work force in the city of Pittsfield."
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