Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

BRATTLEBORO — Since the fall, the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Board has been at work on hiring a superintendent.

“We started by reviewing the job description that we had previously then I believe it was later in the fall that we posted the job description and then we tried to do a much wider search than we did two years ago,” Board Chairwoman Kerry Amidon said in an interview Thursday.

Former superintendent Andy Skarzynski stepped down from the position at the end of June to be with his family in Connecticut after one year on the job. Mark Speno, principal of Green Street School in Brattleboro, was named interim superintendent in July.

The goal is to make a hiring decision no later than early March.

“I would say much of what we have done in this search has been informed by our prior search and desire to see where we can make improvements,” Amidon said. “One of those was to go wider.”

The board posted job advertisements for the position on more websites, extending the search for an extra month in order to get on a few more. Applications were due earlier this month.

Two of the additional websites came at the recommendation of Curtiss Reed Jr., executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity. Amidon said they were for the National Alliance of Black School Educators and DIVERSITY in Ed, a job site for educators of color.

Like last time, the board hired a consultant to help develop the hiring process. Mark S. Andrews was “employed in an effort to accomplish this important task within a fairly short period of time,” according to a news release.

Andrews likes to have a search committee of 12 members but 14 were tapped for this effort, Amidon said. They will help with screening then interviewing first-round candidates before recommending finalists to be interviewed by the board.

Committee members include Amidon, fellow board members Anne Beekman and Michelle Green, Peter “Fish” Case of Brattleboro, Brattleboro Union High School Student Assistance Program Counselor Ricky Davidson, Guilford Central School Principal John Gagnon, Dummerston parent and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People member Nader Hashim, Brattleboro parent David Longsmith, Academy School staff member and Dummerston parent Emily Marker, Putney parent Ruby McAdoo, WSESU Executive Secretary Barb Nowakoski, Vernon Elementary School Principal Mary Ross, WSESU Diversity Coordinator Mikaela Simms and WSESU Curriculum Coordinator Paul Smith.

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

At the time of the interview, Amidon said the committee had met two times so far.

“It’s a heavy lift,” she said, adding that she’s excited about all the committee members who made such a serious time commitment. “We need to know that they’re going to show up. And in addition to just the two-hour-plus weekly meeting, there’s a lot of homework. There’s a lot of information to review.”

Amidon said anyone who has served on a school board knows hiring a superintendent is “the most significant decision you make.”

“So we have to be as thoughtful as we can on this,” she said. “For me, the bottom line is to stay focused on serving all of the needs of the students in the SU.”

Amidon declined to get into the specific number of candidates who have applied.

“I’m happy we did our due diligence and gave an extra month and posted on additional websites,” she said. “Personally, I can say I am happy with the number of applications but now we’re really getting started into that initial deep dive.”

Currently, the committee is coming up with interview questions for the first round of interviews. Amidon said the board wants to hire someone who works with the best interests of the children in mind.

“When we find that,” she said, “the SU will be in good hands.”

Questions on the search process can be forwarded to Amidon at kamidon@wsesdvt.org.