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Hoosac Valley Regional Taps Skrocki for Interim Superintendent

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The School Committee agreed that the retired superintendent is the right choice but members want to interview him before any formal appointment.
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The regional school district is turning to experience to fill its vacant leadership spot. 
Al Skrocki, who retired from the district in 2012, has been tapped by the Hoosac Valley Regional School District as its interim superintendent. 
School Committee were all in agreement Monday that Skrocki — who was superintendent for 14 years — was the right choice for the interim position but wanted to invite him to a meeting before making an official appointment. 
Skrocki was also only the applicant. 
"He was superintendent for this district," Regina Hill said. "We need someone who has a clue of what is going on so the pressure does not go to the principals who are trying to get ready for the school year," 
With the departure of Superintendent John Vosburgh at the end of the July, the School Committee agreed to immediately begin a superintendent search and have formed a search committee.
With the likelihood that there may be a few months during which the district may not have a superintendent, the committee agreed to bring on an interim.
Chairman Adam Emerson said he reached out to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and solicited letters of interest from retired superintendents. He said although applications for the full-time position have continued to come in, only Skrocki applied for the interim post.
Emerson then asked that the School Committee set up an interview with Skrocki but a few members of the committee were ready to move that night.
"We have very little time to do this and what stops us from reviewing the letters now?" School Committee member Peter Tatro asked. "We want to have someone here before John leaves and we are running out of time."
Some members of the committee were hesitant to give Skrocki the go-ahead without even seeing his letter of interest, which Emerson did not have in hand Monday night.
Recording secretary Lisa Bresett noted that there is still much to be hashed out and because Skrocki is retired, he is only able to work a certain amount of hours and make a certain amount of money. She said they would have to come to an agreement with hours and payment.
Emerson agreed and thought it would be good for both parties to meet and go over the job.
"These are things we can hammer out in open session — time commitment and expectations," he said. "That was my thinking. We are appointing someone with a letter of interest who may not know the details."
Skrocki also spent four years as interim in the Lee schools until retiring again in 2017.
The School Committee will see if Skrocki can meet with them Monday. This would leave plenty of time for Skrocki to work with Vosburgh before he leaves July 26.
As for a permanent superintendent, Emerson said the search committee comprised of school community members and representatives from Adams and Cheshire has been assembled and will hold a meeting in the coming weeks.
"I think we can get going as soon as you want to get it going," he said. "I think we are good and it is just a matter of getting the resumes out to the committee."
The application deadline has closed and Bresett said just under a dozen people have applied.
Hill went over the process and said the hope is to bring a minimum of three candidates before the full board for finalist interviews but are open for more.
"We will shoot for the top three and should there be a fourth one, we will use our discretion. But in fairness to everyone, if we bring in two that doesn't really offer choices," she said. "That would tell me our pool of candidates really isn't strong enough." 
The goal is to have someone in place for the start of the school year
In other business, the School Committee voted to begin the process of installing signs commemorating the Hoosac Valley girls basketball recent state championship win.
Adams Selectman Joseph Nowak brought up the idea a few months ago at a selectmen's meeting but the board felt the School Committee should be involved. His specific ask was to install the signs on the town boundaries. 
Monday, booster club member Jon Frederick said the club was ready to get the project going but wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page.
"We just don't want to step on toes or duplicate efforts if someone is planning on doing something," he said.
He said the plan is to install a new shadow box at the school to place memorabilia from the win. He said the current trophy cases are too full for additional items.
Tatro said there was also discussion about installing signage at the school and around the campus.
The School Committee agreed and put the project in the hands of the athletic director to coordinate.

Tags: HVRSD,   interim appointment,   superintendent,   

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Cheshire Highway Foreman Advocates for New Grader

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
CHESHIRE, Mass. — New Highway Superintendent Bob Navin wants the town to take better care of its dirt roads. 
He has asked the board to propose at town meeting buying a grader as opposed to continuing to rent one as they currently do. He has other ideas as well.
"The procedures here weren't to do them how I would do a dirt road," Navin said. "They don't rake them all the time because they didn't have a rake that worked all that great. After grading it needs to be raked out well ... compacted by a roller ... putting a dust control agent on it. That's the direction I want to head in with our gravel roads. A road done right will last a lot longer."
As for the grader purchase, that will be taken up by the town at next Tuesday's special town meeting. Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV prepared numbers for the board that weren't shared publicly but most members agreed that buying might be the best option.
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