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n-falentwistle-020509 Falmouth school chief moves closer to Mass. job

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n-falentwistle-020509 Falmouth school chief moves closer to Mass. job

FALMOUTH — Superintendent of Schools George Entwistle III is one of two final candidates for the school chief's job in Belmont, Mass.
The Belmont School Committee whittled down its choices last week. On Tuesday, a delegation from the Boston suburb visited the Falmouth schools to meet with administrators, School Board members, Finance Department  and budget team members, and central office staff.
Visitors included Belmont's assistant superintendent, director of foreign languages, high school principal and three School Committee members. Belmont School Committee Chairman John Bowe said Monday that the team planned to look further at Entwistle's "leadership style, the balance of innovation versus practical things, how he connects with parents and students and how the budget process goes with the School Board and town finance people."
After the completion of Tuesday's visit, Entwistle said he was pleased with the committee's response.
"I think the greatest thing about these kinds of visits is the feedback about how impressed they are with the schools and staff and the focus everyone seems to have," he said. "Particularly, they spoke to me a number of times about the quality of interactions they had with the people here – how articulate they are and how focused in the same direction."
Entwistle acknowledged the process is awkward, but said he was reminded of the consolidation planning the community recently went through.
"It's people who are elected trying to do the best due diligence for their community," he said. "This would never happen in the corporate world."
As Entwistle has examined Belmont's needs more closely, he said he has seen many that are comparable to what he found when he first came to Falmouth. But he said there are "probably bigger challenges, with a more complex district, a bigger student population, more schools and much more diversity in its demographics. That made it interesting to me."
Entwistle was hired by Falmouth in 2004; his annual salary is more than $120,500. While Belmont's interim superintendent earns $180,000 a year, the previous superintendent would have been making $190,000 a year, Bowe said in January.
Belmont's search process began last year, with application packets due the first of November. There were 34 applicants, and seven candidates were initially selected by a 12-member team. After personal interviews, the committee selected four finalists.
The same team that visited Falmouth on Tuesday was scheduled on Wednesday to visit the Ashland, Mass., schools, where
the other finalist, Superintendent Richard Hoffmann, is employed.
Bowe said the committee expects to make its decision by the middle of next week.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.