YARMOUTH — The School Committee will hire the New England School Development Council and consultant Ron Barker to assist with the search to replace Superintendent Ken Murphy.
Committee Chairman Tim Wheaton on Jan. 8 said the goal was to name the superintendent by the end of April.
“By law, this is the one hiring decision the School Committee makes,” Wheaton said. “It is the most important decision we have faced in a number of years.”
Barker is a Yarmouth resident and former principal of Yarmouth Elementary School. He was superintendent of School Administrative District 6 (Buxton, Hollis, Limington and Standish) and was the associate executive director of the Maine School Management Association.
Because he is a Yarmouth resident, Wheaton said, Barker is a “familiar face to the local schools” and a great complement to the regional and national networking capabilities of NESDEC.
In addition to NESDEC and Barker, Wheaton said there will be a 14-member search committee.
That committee will be comprised of the seven members of the School Committee, three teachers, three administrators and Town Manager Nat Tupper.
The committee will establish the format of the candidate interviews, conduct the interviews and seek consensus to nominate a candidate to the School Committee.
There will also be public forums and focus groups held so that parents, members of the public, high school students, support staff and administrators can offer input. Tentative dates for the public forums are Monday, Feb. 2 and Tuesday, Feb. 10.
Wheaton also said that the School Committee has agreed to a completely confidential process, and the only name to be released to the public will be the name of the next superintendent.
“The advice we were given was that confidentiality will create the best possible pool of candidates,” he said. Wheaton said internal and external candidates will be held to the same standards.
“There will be ample opportunities for the community to help define the leadership profile of the next superintendent of schools,” he said.
Wheaton said the next steps for the superintendent search will include advertising in early February. Then, NESDEC and Barker will recruit candidates and interviews will be conducted through March.
“Ultimately, we will vote on a new superintendent in a special meeting by April 30,” Wheaton said.
Murphy commended the design of the selection process, and said he is proud of the collaborative culture in Yarmouth.
“This process reflects that culture, and I know you will … be very, very pleased,” he said. “It has been an honor to be the superintendent of schools.”
In other business, committee member Toby Dilworth gave a financial update outlining the $360,000 curtailment in state aid to Yarmouth and said there was “nothing but grim news” to report from the Finance Committee.
“It is extremely difficult to find – it’s impossible to find savings in the middle of a school year,” he said.
In order to find the money, Dilworth said the committee will dip into reserve accounts and special education funds, use $85,000 in contingency funds, $145,000 from everyday spending and $130,000 in textbook reserves, retirement and sick leave funds.
“We will have to delay purchases, field trips, uniforms, teachers’ conferences, supplies, equipment and other discriminatory income,” he said. “A couple thousand here, a couple thousand there, we will keep on cutting.”
The School Committee is expected to meet for the first of its budget discussions on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Rowe School. The meeting will not be televised, but is open to the public.