Portland board appoints school chief search committee

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PORTLAND — A committee has been formed to manage the search for Portland Public Schools’ next superintendent.

The superintendent search committee includes School Board members Laure Davis, Anna Trevorrow, Marnie Morrione and Jenna Vendil. Trevorrow and Morrione will serve as co-chairwomen.

School Board Chairwoman Sarah Thompson said the job of the committee is to manage the process, rather than make decisions. The full board will make any decision regarding a new superintendent.

“Whether we hire someone local or a national firm (to do the search), they’re the ones that would interact with those people,” Thompson said.

The search committee begins meeting in September, and will be “kicking into high gear” in October, Thompson said. The next step is to decide the approach, and from there put together a time line, with the goal of having a new superintendent in place by next July.

Thompson said the board is prepared to take longer on the search, if necessary, to find “good, qualified candidates.”

“I think we have a really strong interim superintendent which allows us to really do a good, thorough search,” Thompson said, referring to Jeanne Crocker. “I have all the confidence we will find somebody. In the meantime, we’re in good hands.”

Thompson said the search process is new to most of the board members, who were not on the panel during the search for the previous superintendent, Emmanuel Caulk.

Crocker was named interim superintendent on July 7 and will serve for one year. Caulk left the job after three years to become the superintendent of the 40,000-student Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Kentucky.

For the search that yielded Caulk, Thompson said a national firm did most of the leg work, including gathering information, surveying and scheduling meetings. Thompson said the search for Caulk’s predecessor, James Morse, was “more organic,” and the board members did most of the search themselves.

Thompson said that is not the route she prefers, because of the “sheer volume of work,” but that the board will ultimately decide how large role it will play.

“Whatever the board decides is how we’ll do it,” she said. “I’ve done both approaches, but there may be a completely different way from those, so it’s not any one way is the absolute. But we know we have to get a search going.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Portland interim Superintendent of Schools Jeanne Crocker

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.