SVSU to re-start search for new superintendent


BENNINGTON -- The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union will re-open its superintendent search, after failing to select a candidate after the first search.

The decision was made in executive session at a meeting of the SVSU Board of Directors on Thursday. Current Superintendent Catherine McClure has agreed to rescind her notice to resign from the position, and will stay on as superintendent until the end of her contract, on June 30.

After coming out of executive session, BSD Chairman Ken Swierad made a motion to re-open the search, as the current search had failed to meet the requirements of SVSU policy #4020, which covers the hiring of administrators.

George Sleeman seconded the motion and the board voted unanimously in favor.

Policy #4020 lays out the hiring process for principals and superintendents. The only restrictions on candidates laid out by the policy are that the candidate must have or be eligible for Vermont certification for their position and they must submit a resume, transcripts, and three current letters of reccomendation.

A superintendent search committee screened the submissions and presented recommendations to the board.

The policy calls for the three best candidates to be presented to the board, although it is unclear how many qualified candidates the committee was able to come up with.

The board then reserves the right to appoint one of the candidates to the position, request the review of additional candidates, or re-post the position. When asked for comment, McClure indicated that she believed the requirement that multiple candidates be brought before the board was the reason for the re-opening of the search. Oller could not be immediately reached for comment.

If the committee was unable to produce three viable candidates, the sheer number of superintendent openings in Vermont and neighboring Massachusetts could be partially to blame. The neighboring Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union is also in the process of finding a new superintendent.

Bill Miles, of the Vermont School Board Association, who is facilitating that search, has indicated that many school districts are selecting from the same small pool of qualified candidates.

McClure, when asked by the board to remain in her position through the end of her contract, stated, "I was clear in my notice to the board that I wanted an effective transition and a mutually agreed upon transition plan. I care about this district. Even though we have been fraught with challenges, we are poised to move forward, especially with the hiring of a Human Resource Director. I am firm in the fact that there needs to be an effective transition to a new superintendent. Yes, I would stay through June."

Leon Johnson made a motion to support McClure in her role as superintendent, which was seconded by Angie Rawling. The board voted unanimously in favor.

James O'Connor wanted to remind the board that there were qualified people in the SU who would be able to help the new superintendent in a mentoring role, or to otherwise assist in the transition to a new superintendent.

The board discussed inviting the New England School Development Council back to the SVSU to present, as well as speak about the possibilities of finding an interim superintendent rather than a permanent one, and indicated that this should be done as soon as possible.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB


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