2014-11-21 / Community

Superintendent search begins with Internet

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The Regional School Unit 21 board of directors has elected to begin its superintendent search with the services of SchoolSpring, an internet-based educator job board.

The decision was made Monday night after the board heard a presentation from Elaine Tomaszewski of Maine School Management Association, who proposed that the district use its “cafeteria menu of services” to help with the district’s superintendent search.

The service, which was started two years ago, has been utilized by school districts across the state as a way of “collating” and organizing the search and hiring process. Depending on what services each district desires, costs can range from $550 to $3,000, Tomaszewski told the board.

Maureen King, chairman of the board of directors and MSMA board member, told board members she invited Tomaszewski because, during the last superintendent search in February and March, after Andrew Dolloff left, the district wasn’t sure if it had received the best of the best. “It’s not that we were unhappy with what we saw … we weren’t 100 percent certain we found the right candidate, which is why we went to an interim because the board felt very strongly that if they did not feel 100 percent invested in the candidate that they had, then we needed to take a step back and figure out what we were looking for and go out again.”

The district received nearly 20 applicants before Kevin Crowley was chosen as interim superintendent. This time around, the board expects it will likely exceed that number.

The district has used SchoolSpring for its last two superintendent searches.

“I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to see what Maine School Management has to offer … I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to make use of what they have,” King said.

The superintendent search “needs to be individualized,” Tomaszewski said. “It is the single most important hire that you as a board will do. We want you to have the perfect match.”

MSMA services would not necessarily cast a wider net, King told the board, as SchoolSpring is a nationwide database that tallied nearly 4 million applications last year.

“I actually think SchoolSpring worked fine,” said board member Bob Domine after Tomaszewski left the meeting.

Several board members highlighted aspects of SchoolSpring’s application collection capabilities that they preferred, such as an anonymous rating system and electronic data collection.

Complaints were voiced only about receiving incomplete applications, which the services of MSMA would help weed out.

The last superintendent search cost the district about $600 plus advertising costs, which were about $1,500. Places the district advertised included American Superintendent Association, MSMA, International Baccalaureate and Education Week.

When the board voted unanimously to begin the hiring process using SchoolSpring and not MSMA, they agreed that it would be a good idea to increase advertising and cast a wider applicant net.

King agreed to begin setting up the search process through SchoolSpring. The board will be presented with comprehensive application materials at its meeting Monday, Dec. 3 so the application can be posted.

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