The East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education knows one thing for certain – it needs to move quickly to find a new superintendent of schools to succeed Richard Katz, who resigned last month, but will remain in the district until September.
What the school board does not know, but expects to decide at its Aug. 13 meeting, is whether to use the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) or a consulting firm to assist in the search.
The NJSBA maintains a list of vacancies for school superintendents in New Jersey and nationwide, as well as listings for related positions.
Board President Alice Weisman said the NJSBA would mostly find candidates who live in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. A consulting firm would likely conduct a national search, she said.
Board member Robert Laverty said a national firm would find candidates from other states. However, a national firm did not help the board find candidates for the last opening, he said.
“It wasn’t worth the investment,” Laverty said, adding that the NJSBA was able to find a candidate for the top administrative post much more quickly. The association may know who is interested in such a job, he added.
Weisman said the NJSBA would offer more flexibility and could customize the search process. The board could clarify what it is seeking in a new superintendent, she said.
Board member Christine Harrington was skeptical about using the NJSBA because it would likely produce a smaller pool of candidates.
“I think we, as a whole board, need to be involved in every step of the process,” Harrington said. “We need to make sure advertisements (for the position) are in all the right markets. We need to cast a wide net.”
Board member Pete Bussone advocated reaching out to the NJSBA immediately.
“This is an emergency,” he said, citing the need to hire a new superintendent as soon as possible.
Taking the middle ground, board member Ram Ramchandran suggested contacting the NJSBA and a consulting firm. The board can then make a decision as to who it should hire, he said.
To settle the issue, it was agreed that a three-member subcommittee would be formed to interview the NJSBA and one or two consultants, and report back to the full board at its Aug. 13 meeting.