Photo courtesy of by Westport News
The Board of Education (BOE) is continuing its nationwide search for a new superintendent who will resume the responsibilities of Interim Superintendent Dr. David Abbey on July 1.
The BOE previously disclosed that the candidate will be named on March 18, and that date is expected to be upheld as of the Nov. 25 meeting. The district is currently pleased with the finalized application roster.
Search firm JE Consulting, which conducted 19 superintendent searches for other districts, is authorizing the application process. Dr. Joseph Erardi, owner of the firm, plans to advertise the position on Jan. 5. Prior to the advertisement, Erardi continues to conduct informative sessions along with the BOE to address the questions of Westport residents. With the application process closed, JE Consulting has set affirmative dates for the first and second round of interviews.
“The meetings that I am conducting are information-based and will help the school board determine the most appropriate questions to ask all candidates within the search,” Erardi said.
BOE chair Candice Savin has full confidence in JE Consulting’s work to search for a new superintendent, as the firm was utilized to hire Staples High School Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr.
“JE Consulting led the search for our new Staples High School principal, and we are thrilled with the result,” Savin said. “We have great confidence in the ability of JE Consulting to enhance its understanding of our community through this search process and attract a deep pool of excellent applicants for our consideration.”
The superintendent search has so far included community focus groups, input sessions for teachers and administrations at each school building and individual input from elected Westport officials.
According to both Savin and Erardi, focused discussions involving Westport schools’ staff as well as community members have been helpful throughout their preparation for the hiring process.
“Attendance at the two recent community input sessions was small, but focused and fruitful,” Navin said. “My sense at this point is that we are looking for an educational leader who can build on the excellent work already going on in the district and successfully move the district forward.”
Clara Smith ’23 agrees with Navin’s point that the new superintendent should strive to improve the Westport school district overall.
“[A good superintendent] has the best interest of the students in mind, as well as the district as a whole. It’s important that they are a leader and know what decisions need to be made for the whole community,” Smith said.
Based on the current progression of the superintendent search, Dr. Erardi believes his firm will acquire a favorable result by the anticipated deadline.
“Through the lens of the consultant, the search remains on time with terrific community input,” Erardi said. “I believe the process will yield the perfect fit for the Westport community.”