2014-05-16 / Community

Superintendent search in final phases

Another round of interviews scheduled this week
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The vetting process to replace the superintendent is well underway in Regional School Unit 21.

Superintendent Andrew Dolloff announced his resignation in late January after serving the district since 2009. Assistant Superintendent Sara Zito, who has served in the district since 2006 announced her retirement shortly after, in early February. Both Dolloff and Zito will step down June 30.

Depending on the next round of interviews, which will take place this week, Dolloff’s successor could be announced as early as next week.

“I think that is best case. I don’t see it concluding this week,” said Kevin Knight, chairman of the RSU 21 board of directors. “If we haven’t made the decision by next week, we will have to change the timeline.”

The district received 15 applications for the position. “Several were from Maine,” Knight said.

“At that point, the board will have a couple of options: we could make a decision or make more negotiations, which could last another week,” Knight said.

The process, despite the narrowing of candidates, is still very tenuous. “We could also choose to have additional interviews at that point, or, again, we always have the option of looking into a new round and resetting the search from zero,” Knight said.

“I can’t really give a strong sense of which of those paths are more likely,” Knight said. “We do want to make sure that we do the search carefully and thoroughly.”

Knight said he and fellow board members do want things wrapped up sooner rather than later.

“We do want to hit the ground running (this fall),” Knight said of the start of school and an expected vote on districtwide renovations.

In addition to the board of directors,select faculty members and administrators and two members of the public from each of the three communities in the district are vetting candidates.

“We had a pretty good response in terms of folks who were willing to participate. There are two from each community who are directly involved,” Knight said. “That brings in six opinions from the community, and if you consider the size of the board as well, you have a pretty good representation from each community.”

The six members of the public “will be involved in the stage of interviews that we’re at now,” Knight said. “I’ve worked with them a little bit, giving them an opportunity to propose some questions that will be married with a list of staff questions. As the round progresses, there will be dialogue between all the groups about what impressions were made.”

“Ultimately it is the board that makes the decision, but it is nice to have those voices,” Knight said.

The intention is to fill both the superintendent and assistant superintendent positions before June. The assistant superintendent job has already been posted on a handful of job sites. Once the superintendent position is filled, the person chosen will then spearhead the search for an assistant, Knight said.

“While there’s certainly pressure in terms of time, we don’t want to make a decision just to have a decision,” Knight said. “We all want to be comfortable with where we are and where we’re going.”

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