Cape Elizabeth extends deadline for school chief candidates

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The School Board still hopes to hire a new superintendent by next month, although it continues to accept applicants.

The board’s original plan, which it announce last October, was to be interviewing finalists for the school chief position in the first two weeks of February. With the hope of receiving more applications, however, the deadline to apply for the position has been extended to Feb. 15.

The search to replace former Superintendent Meredith Nadeau, who announced her resignation in January 2016, failed last April after both finalists backed out.

Steven Bailey, who heads the Central Lincoln County School System, withdrew from consideration first and was followed a week later by Craig King, superintendent of Regional School Unit 10 in Dixfield. King withdrew after the board met privately and did not immediately offer him the job.

Howard Colter was hired as an interim superintendent at the end of May. He started in the position July 1, 2016, and will stay with in the job until June 30.

School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Scifres said the search this year is being conducted much like as was last year. 

“Although last year’s search did not yield a permanent superintendent, it was valuable in that we learned so much about the process,” Scifres said. “We learned what worked well, and what we wanted to change.”

Scifres said the board received 15 applications by the original deadline, which was the first week of January. She said the board had hoped to receive more.

“We wished to extend our deadline and increase that number,” she said. “All applications received are being held and considered active.”

An advisory screening committee assembled by the board is scheduled to review applications the week of Feb. 20 and make recommendations for semifinalists by the following week.

An interview committee will meet with semifinalists during the week of March 6 and the School Board will interview finalists the week of March 13. 

During the week of March 20, finalists will visit Cape Elizabeth, but unlike last year, they won’t spend a day touring the district and meeting various stakeholders.

“The board felt the time with community members and parents was too constricted,” Scifres said about the time spent last year. Instead, the finalists will be available for one night at a meeting where people can come and speak with them. 

Another change from last year is that board members will be making visits to the finalists’ home districts. 

“A few board members, teachers and administrators will visit the schools where our finalist(s) is/are currently employed to get an authentic sense of what kind of impact he or she has had on that district,” Scifres said in an email.

The plan is to hire someone by the last week of March and have them start July 1. 

“We purposefully built this time line not only to give us the time we need to conduct a thorough, careful search,” Scifres said, “but also to provide ample time for our interim superintendent to spend with our new superintendent this spring.” 

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.