Vernon school district may restart superintendent search

Search manager recommends starting process in September


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The Vernon Township Board of Education revisited the search for a new superintendent at their work session on Thursday.

Dr. Richard Marasco of Leadership Advantage, who was hired to manage the district's search, met with the board to go over the timeline for the search.

According to Marasco, if the board intends to get a new superintendent in place by July of 2015, which was the deadline the board agreed on earlier this year, the search process will start in September, and a pool of candidates will be presented to the board by December.

Board member Robert Hughes questioned why they'd wait until September to start looking, and Marasco said that he felt that they'd miss candidates if they advertised in the summer and it would throw off the stated timeline. Marasco said that while he could be right, he doesn't like advertising in summer because of vacations and summer jobs-people aren't looking for jobs, so the district might be limiting their pool of candidates. It could also throw off their timeline, with candidates giving notice in the spring and starting in April or May, which isn't ideal in terms of transitions.

“I thought the people who want to be involved will make themselves available in summer,” Hughes said. “September is a very busy time.”

Leadership Advantage provides what Marasco calls a “comprehensive package” of information about each candidate, including a cover letter, writing samples, a resume, reviews and any other information that the board might want.

By the middle of December, the board should be evaluating the files and deciding which candidates will be coming in for first-round interviews. They should also consider making site visits to the district where the candidates are currently.

This should take a few months, according to Marasco, but the board should try to get the candidates in within a reasonable period of time.

“You don't want to have so much time between candidate one and candidate eight that when you see candidate eight you can't remember candidate one,” he said.

The next step is narrowing the pool after the first round of interviews before moving onto the second round of more intense interviews.

These interviews and the second round of site visits that could follow could take the board into late February or early March of 2015. Once a candidate is chosen and accepts the position, contract negotiations could take another month and allowing the candidate to give notice at his district. Depending on the district, some contracts call for 60 days notice and some for 90, so this timeline would give the candidate ample time to do so.

“In theory,” he said, “you could need all 10 months to get the right candidate in by July,” he said.

Board member Ed DeYoung thinks the timeline is fine. He understands that the board is “eager to move forward, but it might not serve us. The new law could bring changes, and people might hang out where they are to see what happens.”

The new law he's referring to is the permissible salary cap, which is being renegotiated at the state level. Board member John McGowan asked about the permissable salary under the latest version of the salary cap. Under current rules, according to Marasco, the highest salary that can be paid by Vernon, based on enrollment, is $157,500, but this may change depending on decisions made in Trenton.


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