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Superintendent Search Meeting Notes


November 19, 2013

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:28 PM by Dawna Green   [ updated Nov 26, 2013, 1:28 PM ]

Attendees:  Virginia Dwyer, Karen Campbell, Bethany Hanley, John Simpson, Jim Moulton, Martha Leggat,


Absent:  Bob Vail, Gigi Sanchez, Pete Wilson


Objectives: Establish dates for focus groups

                  Organize screening committee


Discussion and Agreements:


a) Establish dates for focus groups - Ken led the discussion of focus groups utilizing several handouts "The Community Focus Groups - A NESDEC Guide for Action", " Draft of a Press Release", "Sample letter to community groups/parents/town officials,etc." and "Draft of School Posting".  The purpose of the focus groups is to 1) establish those areas where members of the community and the school system feel should be priorities for the new executive, 2) affords the opportunity for the community to work with the consultant and have some worthwhile input into the search process, and 3) establishes a profile of the attributes and skills a new Superintendent should have to best match the needs of the district.


Ken emphasized that the major objective is to involve as many representatives from as many different groups as possible.  Teachers, students, community members, parents with kids in the schools, pre-school parents, retirees, business leaders, town officials, police and fire department, booster clubs, etc.  Ken will run 6 focus groups, it is the board's job to schedule the focus groups and to get the word out as broadly as possible. Good discussion was held about how to inform community members.  All Board members present agreed that individual outreach from Board members to community members would be needed as well.  Board is looking forward to the results of the focus groups to help inform the board and district administration. Agreements:  Focus groups dates/times were selected


  • Monday, December 9, 2013 - 10am (Parents/Community),

  • 2:30pm (GMS/GHS staff), 7pm (Parents/Community)

Thursday, December 12,2013 - 9am (A-Team), 10:30 or 11am (students)  3:30pm  (MIW/NYMS staff), 7pm (Parents/Community)

  • Friday, December 13, 2013 - open for snow day or maybe if something needs to be moved. (Addition after the meeting per Ken/Karen 7:30 or 8am (School Board)


b) Organize Screening Committee - Ken led the discussion of how to organize the Screening Committee, again with a comprehensive and detailed group of handouts.  The group of board members in attendance agreed with the Ken that utilizing a Screening Committee made up of representatives from various school/district groups (Ken's handout listed 12 different groups) was the appropriate path to take.  Discussion moved to the size of the committee.  Ken cautioned against a committee that was too large because it limits the degree to which people can participate.  Groups should consist of an odd number to avoid ties if a vote is taken.  Recommended group size is 9-11.  Utilizing the guidelines provided by NESDEC in their " Composition of the Screening Committee" handout, the following agreements were reached on Screening Committee size.


Agreement: 13 members:


2 Board of Directors

2 Administrators (one from Central Office, one principal)

2 Teachers

1 Support Staff

1 Student (position to be shared by both of our Board members since its mid-terms during the week of selection.  Both would attend the interviews

3 Residents

2 town officials (one from each town, selected by the Town Council/Board of Selectmen)



Additionally discussion was held on the process used to populate the committee.  Ken cautioned against too many members from the BOD on the screening committee so that there isn't the perception of any one group having undue influence in the process.  He recommended that the Chair, in this case, Karen Campbell be one of the two members for a variety of reasons; i.e. is the liaison with Ken already, it is generally the practice and expectation that the Chair is involved in the full process of the Superintendent Search unless they are unable to serve in that capacity, etc. Agreement: All Board members present agreed that Karen Campbell should be one of the Screening Committee members.


Discussion continued on the selection of the second Board member.  Ken suggested one approach would be to put all members names who can commit to serving for the full time the Screening Committee meets in a hat and drawing out a name.  Karen pointed out that the Board is not scheduled to meet again until December 2nd and questioned the timing due to holidays, etc.  Bethany suggested that we should consider naming one of the Board members from North Yarmouth to the committee so that we have representation from the 2 district communities.  Virginia and Martha agreed that it would be important for some North Yarmouth residents to feel that both communities were represented by the BOD on the screening committee.  Jim Moulton indicated that in fairness to Cumberland then, maybe we should consider 3 Board members on the screening committee so that there is representation that is equivalent to the overall board representation.  Bethany and Karen did not see equivalent representation as an issue, but supported the idea of the second board member being from North Yarmouth, particularly since all 3 North Yarmouth representatives were present.  Virginia indicated that although she would love to serve, she cannot for work reasons.  Jim Moulton indicated that he also would not be able to serve on the screening committee.  Martha is available to serve on the screening committee and would welcome the opportunity to serve on the screening committee.  Jim Moulton expressed a desire to ask all Board members their opinion.  Karen pointed out that, all 9 members of the board will be participating in the final interview and selection process, this decision was only for the screening committee.  Additionally all board members agreed to the timeline for the superintendent search process and were aware of the decisions that the board needed to make this evening. Virginia remarked that adding a third board member would make the committee even at 14, so we would have to add another committee member or subtract a member from another group.  Neither option (i.e. 14 committee member, 15 members,  removing one member from another area, or postponing the decision) appealed to the majority of the group.  Discussion shifted again to Martha's ability and availability and those in attendance agreed to Martha as the second Board member.  Agreement: All Board members present agreed that Martha Leggat should be the second Board member on the Screening Committee. Administrators, Teachers, Support Staff, and Town Officials will all be given a)the number of representatives we need b) the dates and times members will need to commit to c) information provided NESDEC as to the process, and will be allowed to select their own representative. Our two student representatives will share the student spot during the application review process, but both will be at the interviews.  If they can't commit, we will seek one student from the high school.  Residents (3) will be selected through inviting all interested parties to submit an email or a written letter indicating their interest and a brief paragraph as to why they would like to serve on the committee.  All must agree, up front, to be available for ALL the dates indicated in the timeline, names will be picked out of a hat by one of our student reps.


November 5, 2013

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:25 PM by Dawna Green   [ updated Nov 26, 2013, 1:27 PM ]

Attendees: Karen Campbell, Jim Moulton, John Simpson, Bethany Hanley, Bob Vail, Virginia Dwyer, Martha Leggat, Pete Wilson

Community Member: Greg Smith


Absent: Gigi Sanchez


Objectives: Review Search timeline,

                 Discuss Employment Advertisement Draft and District Brochure Draft,

                 Discuss compilation of Screening Committee,

                 Discuss Salary Range,

                 Name liaison


Discussion and Agreements


a) Search Timeline - Board reviewed and discussed complete timeline with our consultant, Dr. Ken DeBenedictis. Agreement: the Board approved the timeline.


b) Drafts of Ad and District Brochure - Ken reviewed the purpose of both recruitment pieces and shared that the Employment ad would be electronic and would be widely posted on 4 educational websites such as EdWeek and SchoolSpring as well as be distributed widely via email within New England.  Discussion was held regarding the depth and breadth of the distribution of search materials and the Board felt comfortable with the nationwide distribution through large publications as well as the targeted regionalized approach that Ken described.  Agreement: The Board agreed to a sub-committee comprised of Bethany Hanley, John Simpson, and Martha Leggat to finalize the drafts.  Bethany indicated that perhaps the Communication Committee would be able to be involved. Finalized brochures and advertisement to the board by Wednesday, November 13 for review, and to Ken Debenedictis on Friday, November 15th.


c) Compilation of Screening Committee - Board discussed that there are 2 models to consider when developing a screening committee; 1) the full Board acts as the Screening and Hiring Committee.  Thought behind this model is that the Superintendent is the Board's only employee and as such it is the Board's responsibility to screen all potential candidates and hire it's one employee.  As elected officials, Board members represent the interests of the communities they serve and are generally representative of the community as a whole.  2) a screening committee comprised of several Board members, administrators, teachers, community members, students, etc. Thinking here is that this model is more inclusive, transparent, and involves varied stakeholders.


Ken recommends Option 2 and assured the Board that he has conducted over 40 searches using a search committee, has a defined process, and that it has always worked very well. At least one Board member expressed concern with populating a screening committee and the process that would be used. The Board was not asked to make a decision on this objective this night as it will be on our agenda next time, but was asked to consider how to populate the committee if Option 2 was chosen.


d) Discuss Salary Range - Present Superintendent salary was discussed, "Salary commensurate with experience" was discussed. . Ken indicated that he would have very detailed discussions with any potential candidates to be sure that all candidates understood the salary range (once established) and discussed having "an agreement in principle" with all final candidates so that the full scope of the salary and benefits were understood prior to final interviews and offers.  This prevents individuals from dropping out at the end over salary/benefits discussions.  Agreement : Use a more general statement for the advertising process and more specific range would be established later.


e) Name liaison - Ken suggested the Chair of the Board is generally this role and that he and the Chair already have established a working relationship.  Agreement: Board members agreed to having Karen Campbell as the liaison.






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