Thursday January 17, 2013

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

SHAFTSBURY -- The Shaftsbury School District board met Tuesday to lay out the process for filling the vacancy that will be left upon Principal James Harwood’s retirement at the conclusion of the school year.

The board will include school staff and the community in the search process, which they hope will be wrapped up by mid-May with the hiring of Shaftsbury Elementary’s next principal.

Assistant Superintendent Donna Leep and members of the board plan to meet with school staff next week to get input on qualities they would like to see in the next principal and a similar open forum will be held for community members early next month.

Around that time a search committee including Leep, two board members, one teacher, one paraprofessional, one member of the community and Harwood will define their expectations and advertise the opening both locally and nationally.

According to a timeline Leep distributed Tuesday, the committee will develop screening criteria for applicants in February with the intent of beginning a review of applicants in early March. Interviews are then expected to be held later that month with finalists being selected by April vacation. Assuming a viable candidate has been selected by May 1, the intent would be to approve a new principal by mid-May.


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Leep said public input will be invited and valued throughout the process given the integral role Shaftsbury Elementary plays for not just students and parents but the community at large.

"The meetings are public. If they ever want to offer their input they should watch for when to come to the meetings," she said.

Harwood announced his intent to retire in December after 34 years in Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, the past five as principal in Shaftsbury. Leep said the search committee’s task of replacing the much-loved principal will be a daunting task.

"We’re hoping we can find someone to fill his shoes. It will be difficult because he’s a great leader," she said.

The school board will be looking for one person from the community to join the search committee. Anyone interested in serving on the committee is asked to contact Chairman Francis Kinney at 442-2841 or fkinney@myfairpoint.net or Harwood by calling the school at 442-4373.

Contact Dawson Raspuzzi at draspuzzi@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @DawsonRaspuzzi