SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 22, 2013

2 finalists picked to lead school

Board hopes to have director in place for new vocational campus by July 1

(Continued)

A committee that included representatives from the Personnel Policy Subcommittee, plus Peabody and the state Department of Agriculture (representing the programs of Essex Aggie), screened the candidates.

“The search went well,” Porteous said. “It’s difficult to get a number you would think you want.”

That’s because the job requires both a license as a superintendent and as a superintendent/director of a regional vocational technical school.

“It’s a smaller pool to choose from, and you have to get people who want to take on a project of this size,” Porteous said.

It’s expected that both finalists will be interviewed in a public meeting Thursday, said Essex North Shore Chairman George Harvey, who expects the committee to vote on the appointment that night.

Porteous and Harvey said they would have liked to have a superintendent in place last fall, given there needs to be a budget in place well in advance of the school opening in September 2014. Teachers have to be hired, department heads have to be chosen, programs have to be created, various admissions policies among the three entities have to be worked out and unions have to be merged, Porteous said.

“You have to put a budget in place a year in advance,” said Porteous, who added that cities and towns wanted one person as the point person.

While July 1 is the deadline to get a superintendent-director in place, the sentiment among the board members is to get one on board as soon as possible.

“I’m looking for the person who can hit the ground running,” Harvey said. “It’s a unique project, and in some sense, it’s a little bit overwhelming to bring this all together.”

Bouquillon, in his cover letter, said it is rare for a present superintendent-director “to explore other options,” but he found the opportunity to lead a new district and school “compelling.” He presently leads a regional school district in Lexington serving 16 towns and 775 students.

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