2014-12-12 / Community

Superintendent applications trickling in

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK – The search for a new superintendent to lead Regional School Unit 21 has yielded two applications.

Ads were posted just before Thanksgiving on a number of national online platforms such as SchoolSpring.com and Schools.com, said school board Chairman Maureen King and, as of Tuesday, Dec. 2, two people have expressed interest.

The job posting will remain open until the end of December, King said at the Dec. 1 school board meeting.

Once the application period has closed, board members will vet qualified applicants in January.

“To get it done as quickly as we can … We may choose to extend (the application period) if we feel it’s necessary, but I think that’s unlikely,” King said.

The new superintendent will replace interim superintendent Kevin Crowley, who will return to his post as principal of Mildred L. Day School in Arundel June 30. He will assist with the “pragmatic aspects” of the superintendent search, which include scheduling interviews, reserving space for meetings and coordinating outreach, King said.

Crowley will not serve on the board’s interview committee.

“Once the board decides on the new superintendent, I am sure much of our collective energies will be spent on ensuring a smooth transition,” Crowley said.

In addition to meeting the qualifications outlined in the job description, interested applicants are asked to describe their leadership philosophy and style, “discuss the superintendent’s role as the educational leader in a school district,” and “discuss how you have ensured strong community support for your school system.”

According to the job posting, “RSU 21 has many dynamic teachers, motivated students, and an engaged community. Our school leaders must be visionary, yet practical, and present themselves well in the public eye.”

The Gorham, South Portland and Freeport school districts are also looking for new superintendents, which may affect the number of applicants attracted to RSU 21. “There will be competition, but I am confident that RSU 21 will get a good pool of applicants,” King said. “We have an excellent educational reputation. During our last two searches we received 15 to 18 complete applications while other districts around the state were getting eight to 10.”

During December, residents will have three opportunities for input on the subject. Facilitated public forums lasting about an hour will first be held in each of the towns to “discuss the superintendent attributes and qualities, the job description and community expectations.”

The first forum was scheduled for Monday, Dec. 8 in the Mildred L. Day School library. The second forum will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 18 at Kennebunk Elementary School.

The last forum will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 20 at Kennebunkport Consolidated School. No matter which town they reside in, residents of Arundel, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are encouraged to attend any of the forums.

Residents and those who are employed in the towns that make up the district can also participate in a survey on the district’s website at www.rsu21.net/superintendent.

The survey includes prioritizing four characteristics when considering ethics, personnel management, school/ community involvement, community relations and staff development. A comment section is also part of the survey.

The last opportunity for public input will be through a community interview team, once the selection has been whittled to a final, small pool of candidates.

The board will meet with the community interview team after confidential interviews with the candidates have been completed. Those interested in serving on the interview team are encouraged to contact the RSU 21 district office at 985-1100, or email King at mking@rsu21.net.

When asked how he feels about leaving the post, Crowley said, “I do not have mixed emotions about leaving the position. I have thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of serving as the superintendent, especially working with the teaching staff, the administrative team, the staff in the central office and the school board. However, my primary strengths lie in the work at the school level. I am looking forward to getting back where I can play touch football during recess at Mildred L. D ay.”

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