Finalists Announced For Pittsfield Deputy School Superintendent

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The School Committee will interview deputy superintendent finalists next month.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three finalists have been chosen in the search to replace its outgoing deputy school superintendent and they will be undergo final interviews before the School Committee next month.
 
Two local principals along with one out-of-state administrator emerged from an initial pool of 28 applicants for the position, Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless told the committee on Wednesday.
 
"We felt very fortunate by the number and caliber of our applicants," stated McCandless, who said the applicant pool had first been narrowed down by a 13-member panel to eight candidates invited for interviews, of whom five opted to come interview for the position.
 
Finalists include Sophia Redman-Jones, director of special services for the Harvey, Ill., public school district; Joseph Curtis, principal of Morningside Community School, and Jonathan Vosburg, principal of Taconic High School.
 
"I think we're bringing forward three candidates, each of whom would bring very special skills and a very good work ethic to this position," McCandless said, assuring committee members that the hiring panel had undertaken rigorous evaluation and background checking.
 
The new deputy superintendent will replace N. Tracy Crowe, who was hired in May 2012 to replace previous deputy Barbara Malkas, who departed to become superintendent for the Webster school district.
 
Crowe, who previously served as an assistant principal for a Marblehead high school, was offered a salary increase of $18,283 upon her hiring, a controversial raise which the committee passed 6-1 partly in consideration of the fact that Crowe already had health insurance coverage and this benefit was not provided by the school district. The School Committee has not yet entered into any public discussion on a proposed salary for the next deputy.
 
The School Committee is slated to begin interviewing the three finalists at the its next regular meeting on Jan. 14.
 
The district will also be vetting three candidates for the newly created position of cultural proficiency liaison, the superintendent said on Wednesday.
 
"We're not going to get into names now, because we're just getting ready to move into the first round," McCandless said.  
 
The new position, approved by the committee this fall, will be a year-round, part-time position that will primarily serve the school district, but will also have some shared responsibility working for City Hall. According to the job posting put out in October, the position will demand between 20 and 25 hours a week, and be paid $30,000 to $35,000, primarily from the school budget, with some additional contribution from the city's municipal budget.
 
"We feel that this position has been crucial for some time, and now more than ever," said McCandless.

Tags: interview,   Pittsfield School Committee,   school administrator,   

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Pittsfield at-Large City Councilor Candidates Answer Questions

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Candidate for the four a-large City Council seats participated in a forum Monday at Berkshire Community College as they made a push for votes before election day.
 
Seven candidates fielded questions at a forum hosted by BCC, in partnership with the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, which recorded the forum. The moderator was Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV.
 
After some opening statements, the candidates were asked to pick a number that prompted a question. After three candidates answered the question the next candidate in line chose a new number. At the end of the session, candidates were given two minutes to answer questions they did not get or to expand on the answers they gave.
 
One of the first questions brought forward was about Mayor Linda Tyer's proposed home improvement plan that would have allowed qualified residents to apply for money from the Pittsfield Economic Development Fund to make small improvements to their homes.
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