REGION 9 BOARD OF EDUCATION
SPECIAL PERSONNEL SEARCH COMMITTEE MEETING
Thursday, March 11, 2021 – 6:30 p.m.
Virtual via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/92810218405?pwd=U0dvMUZiMkE3TWVxWml1NExCVnlNQT09
Meeting ID: 928 1021 8405
ATTENDANCE Board Members: T. Johnston, M. D’Agostino, C. Graziano, M. Pampel, G. Denny, M. Williams, K O’Brien
Absent: J. Berry
Administration: Dr. Harrison
CALL TO ORDER
The Region 9 Board of Education Special Personnel Search Committee meeting was called to order at 6:33 p.m. by Chairperson M. D’Agostino
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION: SEARCH PROCESS FOR REGION 9 ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT AND HEAD OF SCHOOL
T. Johnston thanked everyone for attending and talked through the process for the search for a Region 9 Assistant Superintendent and Head of School. He questioned if we should use an outside consultant again and follow a similar process which was used for the Superintendent search or if we should use a different process. He opened the floor for discussion.
M. Williams asked T. Johnston if he thought we got a wider pool of candidates with a search consultant. T. Johnston said he believed we did not. He asked Dr. Harrison his opinion. D. Harrison stated that he thought a consultant was helpful to increase a very strong candidate pool and also helped to move through the process. However, Dr. Harrison believes we will have a robust candidate pool with or without a consultant due to the nature of the position in a DRG A school.
M. Williams asked if the main reason for hiring a consultant was for resumes and narrowing down the selection. Dr. Harrison commented that the search consultant comes in to do a community profile, gathers information and then assists with the screening to match any potential candidates. K. O’Brien stated that she thought Dr. Erardi did an excellent job. He was very comprehensive, intuitive and moved things along. M. Williams stated that she felt the consultants are not necessarily used to gather a pool of candidates but more so for having to vet the pool of candidates. She said she just felt that sometimes Dr. Erardi put his own view on the candidates but did a great job overall with screening all applicants. M. D’Agostino commented that while he does see the value of a search consultant in certain situations, when the previous Head of School search was done, they posted it without the use of a search consultant and received a lot of applicants. He also stated that we may not hire someone from out of state. The probability is we will hire from towns around us or from another local DRG A district. M. D’Agostino felt that since we had success in the past, there will be many applicants. He would rather not spend the money on a search consultant, if possible. M. D’Agostino stated that he is also fine with hiring the search consultant if that is what the majority of the board feels.
C. Graziano asked Dr. Harrison if, in his experience, he found we cast a wide net outside the region or state to search for candidates. Dr. Harrison stated he thought all of the applicants would know to go to the Connecticut Regional Educational Application Placement (CT REAP) website, if searching for that type of position. C. Graziano agreed with both M. Williams and M. D’Agostino that she felt some candidates were steered more so than others by the search consultant. She stated that while money could be saved, she felt we could work through that and is in favor of hiring a Search Consultant.
Dr. Harrison stated that with or without a consultant, anyone looking in Connecticut, would look at CT REAP. However, the consultant can reach out to those who were not even looking but felt would be a good fit. The search consultant would send out a blast email and those that would be considering the position would reach out to the consultant.
M. Pampel agreed with Dr. Harrison and also aligns with M. D’Agostino with saving money this year. She stated that she also felt that we are all overwhelmed right now and someone to help with the vetting, etc. would be extremely helpful.
T. Johnston stated he felt it was beneficial for the Board to see the entire pool of candidate resumes to review and it was good to get some public input in the search process. M. D’Agostino commented that if we were going to go with the use of a search consultant, which is how the majority of the Board appears to feel, the next step would be looking through the list of search consultants and to take proposals from a few. He asked if a subcommittee should be appointed to do some of the logistical stuff.
T. Johnston asked for volunteers for the consultant steering committee and advised that he is ok with going with a smaller steering committee. M. D’Agostino stated he is fine with the entire board participating. Dr. Harrison commented that groups like C.E.S. may also be able to assist with the consultant search. Dr. Harrison expressed staying local for the consultant is better as it’s likely our next principal is close by.
M. Williams asked who JRMS used in their search. Dr. Harrison stated Dr. Erardi was used and while he may have been a little opinionated, he felt that Dr. Erardi had some good insights that the Redding Board would not have had on our own.
T. Johnston agreed but wanted to look at a few others before making a commitment stating that we may also have some in-house folks interested as well. He would like to get the inquiry process started so they can go from there.
M. D’Agostino stated that the consultant is picked first before proceeding and T. Johnston confirmed this. M. D’Agostino wanted to be clear that the Region 9 Board is the search committee and the intent of this meeting is to hire a consultant and to detail the process for the selection of the new Head of School-Assistant Superintendent at Joel Barlow High School. Moving forward, the Personnel Search Committee (PSC) and the PSC Steering Committee are non-public meetings and do not have to be posted, nor does the public get involved.
MOTION: move that the Region 9 Board of Education instruct Central Office to post for a Search Consultant for the Joel Barlow High School Head of School-Assistant Superintendent position. (M. D’Agostino, K. O’Brien). Approved, 7-0.
M. Williams questioned if the PSC/Board can control the scheduling of these meetings to the evening times. Both T. Johnston and M. D’Agostino agreed. T. Johnston questioned if the Board wanted to create a Steering Committee made up of Personnel Search Committee members similar to the Superintendent search process. C. Graziano stated that she found it helpful being in the Steering Committee meetings to listen to candidate interviews and while she supports the concept to move things along, does not want to restrict all board members to have an equal say or the opportunity if they wanted to ask questions of the candidates.
Dr. Harrison stated that the intent is to be able to name a candidate by early May which would mean the consultant should be hired by the beginning of April, 2021. He will double check the policy on posting an RFP since he believes it may have to be posted for a certain amount of time. M. D’Agostino advised that he doesn’t believe it’s a long period of time so the Board should still be able to interview by mid-April. C. Graziano questioned if there is an opportunity to make changes to the Head of School-Assistant Superintendent role and responsibilities in the job description used for posting. Dr. Harrison said he has some ideas and will share with the Board to update the role description, not necessarily change it.
All agreed that the intent is to find a search consultant within the next 3-4 weeks then they would begin posting, sifting through candidates and finding a few selections.
M. D’Agostino said the board should ask the Administration to compress the RFP to minimum posting requirements in order to get through that process by the end of March to allow the search to begin in April – May timeframe. Dr. Harrison stated that the policies are the policy of the board so the board can choose to deviate as it sees fit. Dr. Harrison also stated that he viewed the policy and found no mention of a timeline.
Dana Benson, 34 Pond Rd., Easton, CT asked if the updated description of both positions are available to the public and if so, where they would be located. Dr. Harrison advised that it would be on the Central Office website under the Human Resources tab.
BOARD MEMBER COMMENT
Motion: move to adjourn the Region 9 Board of Education Personnel Search Committee special meeting (O’Brien, Pampel). Approved, 7-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:19 p.m.
Todd Johnston, Chairman Region 9 Board of Education