SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The school board has started its search for the successor of Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Godin, who will leave the post June 30, 2015.
Job advertisements have been placed in The Boston Globe, Bangor Daily News and Maine Sunday Telegram, as well as on websites, such as Monster.com, board Chairman Richard Matthews said. The ads will run through Jan. 16.
The board also commissioned the help of the Maine School Management Association for the hiring process.
Once the application period closes, an appointed application review committee will review the submitted applications Jan. 20-23. The review committee will comprise four board members and Assistant Superintendent Kathryn Germani, Matthews said. Their primary duty is to organize the applications and “get them squared away” for further scrutiny, he said.
A second panel, made up of members of the review committee; two parents; two students; president of the South Portland Administrators Association; president of the South Portland Teachers Association; South Portland High School Principal Ryan Caron; a teacher from one elementary school, one middle school and the high school; and Andrew Wallace, director of technology, will serve as the primary vetting committee.
Other components to the interview and selection process are not yet set but likely will include hosting a public open house for the finalists. The final interview process likely will coincide with budget deliberations and will take place in early April, Matthews said.
In the meantime, as candidates submit their applications, the board is working to make available an online survey, accessible through the district website, where residents will be able to list their preferred attributes of the new hire.
“I think that would be a great idea for people to give their opinions of what they’re looking for,” Matthews said. “I really think the South Portland community has always been one to be involved in these types of situations.”
Godin, who announced her resignation last month, said she believes community members will want a superintendent who can, among other characteristics, lead the district with “the ability to listen and recognize differing needs across the community.”
Further and more importantly, she said, the new superintendent will need to know how to balance those needs from school to school.
A handful of other districts in southern Maine also are conducting superintendent searches, including Gorham, Kennebunk and Regional School Unit 5 in Freeport. Matthews said he does not believe these searches will hamper South Portland’s chance of attracting worthy candidates.
“I’m pretty confident that South Portland is an attractive place for people. … It is a great school system — it really is — and a great community,” he said. “I’ve lived here all my life, and I’ll tell you right now I just think it’s an awesome place to live.”
Adding to its attractiveness as a school district is its history of superintendent longevity, Matthews said, noting Godin is in her ninth year in the position, after serving as assistant superintendent for three years.
“South Portland is a very inviting place, and I think that once the [new] superintendent gets here, I think they will really enjoy the position. History kind of shows that,” Matthews said. “I don’t think South Portland will have any problem attracting candidates.”