Cape Elizabeth school chief search nears final phase

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Final candidates will soon be selected for the next superintendent of schools.

The School Board is on track to hire a new superintendent next month. The board conducted a second round of interviews this week after Meredith Nadeau, who has been with the School Department for five years, announced her resignation in January.

Nadeau will become school chief July 1 in the Newmarket School District in New Hampshire. The Maine School Management Association is assisting in the search for a replacement.

An advisory screening committee reviewed applications, which were due March 8, and made recommendations to the School Board. An interview committee made up of the entire School Board, one teacher from each of the schools, one special education teacher, and two district administrators conducted the first round of interviews at the end of March.

The second interviews are being conducted this week by only the School Board.

Chairwoman Elizabeth Scifres said via email that there were “many” candidates interviewed in the first round, and “a few” were chosen for second interviews. She refused to be more specific about the number of applicants, claiming that information is confidential.

Scifres said there was “a strong pool of applications” from across the country, with most from New England. Results from a survey sent to parents and community members early in the process have been used to guide the search.

The results showed that people want someone who has been a superintendent before and “a leader who will focus on nurturing a positive teaching and learning culture for staff and students at all our schools,” according to Scifres.

“Our community input survey data confirmed what our staff, administrator, and town leader focus groups and surveys had already told us,” she said. “We have been guided by this data at each step of the process.”

Additionally, the survey showed that a top priority is to have someone with strong communication skills. The school district’s communications with the community has been criticized recently following a lockdown and bomb threat within one week in mid-March.

Finalists will be selected at the end of this month to tour the schools. A new school chief will be chosen in May and will start July 1.

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

Nadeau

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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.