The Lynn School Committee has begun looking for candidates for a new superintendent to replace current superintendent, Dr. Catherine Latham. Latham will be retiring at the end of the current school, year and the search for her replacement has been a huge topic of discussion among the committee lately.
Glenn Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees spoke to the committee about the ways other districts around the commonwealth deal with superintendent searches and stressed that there are a variety of ways to approach the issue.
“About a third of a our districts usually do an internal promotion and move on. That’s fine and the community usually accepts it. Another third of our districts will do a search where they will interview internal candidates, external candidates, either or both and make an external hire, and about a third do a process and make an internal hire. So the process is generally all over the place and very flexible.”
The school committee is in a less-than-ideal situation because they are starting their search for a new superintendent a little more than halfway through the school year, whereas most other school districts seeking superintendents started looking at the beginning of the school year. This puts the district at a slight disadvantage to other districts who are looking at the same pool of potential candidates. This makes the need to find candidates quickly a priority and is something the committee is acutely aware of.
Committee Member John Ford spoke about the need to move quickly and not let the search for a new superintendent get drawn out longer than it has to. “Out of caution, I would say that we don’t want to make this too big a deal because if you make the committees too cumbersome they become ineffective. You have to have the old ‘mobile and hostile’ type of thing where you move with some experience and we seem to be building this beyond what it really is, which is the search for a good and candidate and I think that will happen, those people will come forward We can make it a bigger issue than it really has to be.”