CLARKSBURG, Mass. — North Berkshire School Union 43 began interviews with finalists on Monday in the search for its new superintendent.
Heidi Dugal, principal of Gabriel Abbott Memorial School, a member of the school union, answered questions for about an hour on Monday evening after first visiting with staff and parents at a short reception.
William Bazyk, superintendent of the Battenkill Valley School Union in Arlington, Vt., will be interviewed on Tuesday night and John R. Franzoni, principal of Brayton Elementary School in North Adams, will be interviewed on Wednesday. Both interviews will be at 6 p.m. at Clarksburg School and are open to the public.
Both candidates will also be available to meet with community and school members from 4:30 to 5:30 before their respective interviews at Clarksburg School. The interviews are also open to the public.
The union School Committee, made up of members of the school committees of Clarksburg, Florida, Monroe, Rowe and Savoy, anticipates making a decision on who to hire on Wednesday night, following the final interview.
The school union is seeking to replace Jon Lev, who has been the superintendent for the past decade after previously being its special education director. Lev is scheduled to leave July 1 but has indicated he will stay on a little longer if necessary if the new superintendent cannot be in place by that date.
The search has been facilitated by Patricia Correira, a field director for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. She also facilitated the search that resulted in Lev's hiring and the superintendent prior to him.
MASC had done the initial narrowing of the applicants and forwarded seven candidates to the school union's search committee, which selected Dugal, Bazyk and Franzoni as finalists. The School Committee as a whole is interviewing each of the finalists from a predetermined set of questions that were agreed on.
After Dugal's interview, Correira led the committee through the process it will take in voting on Wednesday. Because it is comprised of 15 seats, the vote on the preferred candidate must be at least eight to make a majority -- no matter if any of the representatives abstains or is absent.
A negotiating committee will also have to be established to settle a contract with the incoming superintendent. Any hiring vote, she reminded them, is contingent upon reaching an agreement with the selected candidate.
There was a question of what could happen if they could not agree on Wednesday, but Correira did not think that would be an issue. The search committee had done a good job in forwarding suitable candidates and the questions being asked were well thought out, she said.
"I think when you reach the end of these three interviews, you're going to know," she told the committee. She did, however, caution them to keep in mind that they were likely "hiring for the long term" based on feedback from the finalists and the school union's own history.
"You've had some really excellent superintendents," Correira said. "You're very fortunate that you've kept a superintendent for as long as you have. It's not that way in the east ... they tend to follow where the money is."
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