School board enters phase three of superintendent search


The Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education’s Superintendent Search Committee has already moved to candidate interviews in the school board’s search for a new superintendent for the district.

The superintendent candidate interviews are the third phase of a four phased process. The school board has indicated that the fourth phase includes the naming of the finalists, which is anticipated for the end of June, and the negotiation of the superintendent contract and start date.

The board seeks to have a new superintendent in place as close to the start of the 2021-22 school year as possible, according to the school board.

Prior to entering the third phase, the school district gathered responses and information from the school district community through a Superintendent Search Community survey.

“This inquiry process was a successful one, which yielded over 900 survey responses and produced considerable feedback through public sessions, emails, staff focus groups, phone calls, interviews, and other conversations,” a school district letter stated on June 14. “The output of all was profound and clear.”

When those who participated in the survey were asked to select what key characteristics are most important for the next superintendent, respondents top three selections were communicative (70.6% of responses), collaborative (53.1%) and transparent (51.6%).

Additionally, another question posed centered around ranking the most significant issues that a new superintendent must be prepared for on day one. The top three ranked choices had been returning to school post-COVID-19 and hybrid learning (48.7% of responses); equity, diversity and inclusion (14.8%); and mental health of staff and students (11.4%).

In addition to the survey, the search committee met with district employee stakeholders.

At a June 14 search committee special session, a question was raised to the committee about current Superintendent Thomas Smith’s involvement in the process.

“To reiterate what Board President Deborah Linthorst said, we do not want to comment specifically on who and how much of the individuals in the administration have been involved in the process,” said Anita Williams Galiano, chair of the Superintendent Search Committee in response to the question. “The specific area where we really relied on Dr. Smith is to review and rewrite where appropriate the description of the superintendent role.”