John Vosburgh is interviewed by the School Committee last week.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee voted 4-2 to offer the job of superintendent to Pittsfield's Taconic High School Principal John Vosburgh.
The School Committee said it was a difficult decision but didn't debate too long Tuesday night before voting in favor of Vosburgh. The meeting lasted just under an hour.
Although the six members present thought all three final candidates would do a good job, the majority of the committee felt Vosburgh was the best fit for the district.
"I think he is a rising star and I think he has 8-10 years to work here and can get the most done," School committee member Peter Tatro said. "I think his leadership skills are certainly the top out of the three which is something we really need in our district."
Vosburgh had previously made the cut as a finalist for the Mount Greylock Regional School District but was passed over Kimberly Grady, who had been acting superintendent for more than a year. He told the School Committee last week that he saw Adams-Cheshire as a "perfect fit" and a place he would retire from, thus offering the district some stability in leadership.
Current Superintendent Robert Putnam will retire at the end of this school year and over the past few months, a screening committee had selected four finalists to go before the full School Committee for an interview.
Only three followed through with interviews and included Maria Geryk, director of student services for the Central Berkshire Regional School District; and William Bazyk, superintendent of the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union in Vermont.
The School Committee was also toying with the idea of sharing a superintendent with North Adams, however, voted Monday to suspend these efforts and hire its own head administrator.
Tuesday's discussion found Vosburgh and Bazyk as the two favorites, however, the School Committee made clear that it was impressed with all three candidates.
"What I think we have here is almost an embarrassment of riches of what we are going to be able to select from," School Committee member Adam Emerson said. "We are really getting down into the details and I think whoever we pick will do a good job."
The committee first voted 4-2 to eliminate Geryk from consideration, feeling the other two candidates were just a better fit for Adams and Cheshire.
All of the members lauded Vosburgh's history at Taconic, a vocational high school, and Reid Middle School, also in Pittsfield, and felt the progress he had made at those schools could be carried over to Adams-Cheshire.
They also noted that he was rooted in the community and has a built-in mentor system because he already has connections with school districts in Berkshire County.
Vosburgh had said he hoped to retire in eight to 10 years and that he hoped to be able to do that from Adams-Cheshire. The School Committee felt this stability would allow the district to better implement its turnaround plan
The entire School Committee also agreed that Vosburgh's experience with being part of the $120 million Taconic High School building project would also be an asset.
School Committee member Stephen Vigna, who voted against Vosburgh, said although he thought Vosburgh would do a good job, he would prefer Bazyk because he is already a sitting superintendent.
"I think my feeling is we are at a position in this district that we need someone to hit the ground running," he said. "When he gets here and sits in the office he has to be able to move right away without a learning curve."
While Vosburgh has no superintendent experience, Bazyk since last year has been overseeing a school district similar to Adams-Cheshire, with a combined high and middle school and an elementary school.
School Committee member Adam Emerson, who also voted against Vosburgh, agreed and said he thought Bazyk was a better fit because of his expertise in special education and elementary education.
"John does not have that experience … and while we are down the road, to mix metaphors here, the ship is still being built as we are sailing," he said. "I think we need someone with superintendent experience."
Tatro disagreed and said he thought a lack of superintendent experience should not be held against Vosburgh.
"I think he has a track record of the success and I don't want to judge a candidate just because they have not had that experience," he said. "Sometimes the best people in those positions are the ones that haven't had the chance yet."
School Committee member Regina Hill thought Vosburgh had the leadership and communication skills to turn to his team for special and elementary education support. She added that she was also swayed by the fact the Vosburgh was a finalist in the Mount Greylock Regional School District superintendent search.
Chairman Paul Butler agreed and because the committee seemed split asked if members were more comfortable taking a paper ballot vote instead of a straight up or down vote. However, the School Committee felt a standard roll vote would do.
Putnam did ask if the committee wanted to take a second vote of support because the vote was not unanimous.
Vigna said he did not think it was necessary especially with member Darlene Rodowicz absent and not seeking re-election. He added that he himself is not seeking re-election and Vosburgh will be seeing new faces on the School Committee.
Butler added that he thought every School Committee member would support the new superintendent, especially when all the candidates were so qualified.
"Regardless if I didn't vote for the winner I would still support whoever it was," he said. "Because all of these candidates were more than qualified and we all have a different perspective."
Pending a successful contract negotiation, Vosburgh will take the helm July 1.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.
How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.