Hollis Brookline district making progress in search for superintendent

The Hollis Brookline community is moving closer to hiring a permanent superintendent now that the position has been posted, applications have been received and the SAU 41 Governing Board has adopted several new policies to clearly define the roles of the district’s top administrator and School Board.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since last January, when the Governing Board opted not to renew Susan Hodgdon’s contract. She served as superintendent for five years prior to resigning in January 2013. A search led to two finalists for the position who were vetted in April, but neither was hired. John Moody was named acting interim superintendent in July.

After the unsuccessful search for a candidate, the SAU 41 Governing Board decided it needed to improve the materials and guidelines available to present to potential applicants and has spent the past several months examining the relationship among the school boards and superintendent. Policies that explicitly delineate duties, expectations and evaluation processes have been written, discussed and rewritten.

At a meeting in December, the SAU 41 Governing Board adopted seven policies concerning the superintendent’s duties and relationship with the school board.

The policies define the role of the board as policy-making, and the superintendent’s role as enforcing the policies. The superintendent is to serve as the executive officer of the local school district or districts within the SAU, with responsibility for the overall administrative and leadership services of the SAU. Those services include: personnel, finance, communication/community relations, student service, maintenance/capital improvement, curriculum, instruction, assessment, short- and long-range planning, governance for student achievement, policy research, implementation and review, and overall leadership on educational issues.

The policy also states that the board and superintendent will jointly establish annual goals and objectives, and that there will be an annual evaluation of the superintendent’s performance, based on written criteria.

Complete text of all the policies can be found on the SAU website under Approved Policies at www.sau41.org/sau-policies/sau-policies.

Text of policies still under review, including the structure of the SAU board and officers, the superintendent job description and superintendent goal setting/evaluation form, is also available on the SAU website.

At the December meeting, Krista Whalen, Hollis/Brookline Co-op board member, said the Superintendent Search Committee met with the New England School Development Council and, utilizing a combination of survey results – 188 responses – and the expertise of the committee, created a candidate profile to use when reviewing resumes and when establishing interview questions.

A timeline for the superintendent search process has been established as follows:

Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

(snow date Feb. 6)

Special SAU 41 Governing Board meeting. The Superintendent Search Committee will present the names of the finalists for the position and explain how they were chosen.

Feb. 13

Public forum to meet the candidates. Candidates will also tour our schools on this date.

Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.

Special SAU 41 Governing Board meeting to conduct interviews. If there are more than three finalists, an additional meeting will likely have to be scheduled.

Feb. 6-19

Superintendent Search Committee to coordinate site visits to candidates’ districts.

Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.

Special SAU 41 Governing Board meeting for the purpose of deliberation and appointment of superintendent.