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Pittsfield Superintendent Search Committee Has First Meeting

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Liz Lafond of MASC runs through the timeline and process with the Superintendent Search Committee on Thursday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee hopes to have a superintendent in place by July 1.
 
Liz Lafond, a consultant on superintendent searches for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, laid out a timeline the newly formed search committee on Thursday. 
 
The committee will be finalizing questions for prospective candidates in January and, sometime around Feb. 7, review applicants and decide who they want to interview. This is aimed to only take one meeting but can be spread out over two meetings if necessary.
 
Lafond said mid-February yields the bulk of the work, as they will be scheduling interviews.
 
When finalists are selected, the chairman will present them to the full School Committee in early March.
 
Lafond highlighted that keeping the identity of applicants private is extremely important, as they often don't notify current employers that they are seeking employment elsewhere unless they are a finalist.
 
"Confidentiality for candidates is crucial," she said, adding that revealing them could be devastating to their careers.
 
From mid- to late March, the School Committee will arranges site visits, which will likely be virtual, of the candidates to Pittsfield and to their districts.
 
Thursday was the first meeting of the superintendent search committee, which is tasked with seeking the replacement of Jason McCandless, who left to become superintendent of Mount Greylock Regional School District. 
 
When McCandless gave his notice in August, Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis was voted as interim head of schools as the search for McCandless' replacement commences.
 
The committee is made of 23 representatives from entities including Pittsfield Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Club, the state Department of Children and Families, and the Berkshire NAACP.
 
Will Singleton, who is the only member of the committee to previously serve as a superintendent, was voted chairman.
 
Singleton is a retired educator and administrator, including as a superintendent in Washington, D.C., and in New York. He previously served as the president of the Berkshire NAACP and was instrumental in restarting it in 2013.
 
Lafond also told the committee that it must comply with the requirements of Open Meeting Law, which most meetings of public bodies be held in public and establishes rules that public bodies must follow in the creation and maintenance of records relating to those meetings. Because of this, members who have not already gone through this training will need to do so.
 
The Superintendent Search Committee will meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m. and then on the second and fourth week of every month.
 
For "homework," members were asked to compile and submit their top three questions to use in interviews for candidates. 

Tags: Pittsfield Public Schools,   search committee,   superintendent,   

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Methuselah Loses License for Two Days

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A bar and restaurant owned by a city councilor had its license suspended for two days for violating state COVID-19 guidelines.

On Monday, the Licensing Board voted to suspend Councilor at Large Yuki Cohen's liquor license for Methuselah Bar and Lounge, scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, after a hearing for three alleged pandemic violation complaints that included pictures and anonymous testimony.

Because of the anonymous nature of the evidence submitted, the board weighed in on the fact that this is not Cohen's first time in front of the Licensing Board, as Methuselah faced a five-day liquor license suspension in 2018.

"I feel like in light of what the history is, I don't think we can just pretend that there's no history,"  Chairman Thomas Campoli said, concluding with the other board members that this case had to be handled differently than if it was a first violation.

On Jan. 15, the board held a hearing for two of the violations occurring on Aug. 22 and Dec. 11. It was decided to continue the hearing for the third violation and voting until Monday, Jan. 25.

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