Portland school chief expected to be announced next week

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PORTLAND — The School Board is expected to announce the city’s next superintendent of schools on May 24.

The board announced the two finalists for the position on May 2.

Xavier Botana, an associate superintendent in Indiana, and Teresa A. Lance, an assistant superintendent in Colorado, were chosen after a national search led by Illinois-based BWP & Associates recruited more than 40 applicants.

Botana and Lance came to visited the district in early May. Botana spoke at Casco Bay High School on the evening of May 2, and Lance was at King Middle School the following evening. The board privately interviewed six semifinalists between April 11–14 before whittling the field down.

Botana has been an associate superintendent for Michigan City Area Schools in Indiana since 2010. Since 2013, Lance has been school leadership officer in Colorado Springs Harrison Schools District Two; the position is the equivalent of an associate superintendent.

Lance told the audience during the forum she held that her district has about 11,000 students. According to information available on the Michigan City Area Schools website, Botana’s district serves more than 5,600 students. Portland Public Schools serve roughly 7,000 students.

School Board Chairwoman Marnie Morrione said she and board member Jenna Vendil traveled to the candidates’ school districts last week, but she would not provide more information, other than saying the visits “went extremely well; we’re all very excited.”

Morrione said she and Vendil are completing a memo for the full board about their trip.

“We’re in the process this week of negotiations,” Morrione said Monday afternoon. “Now we have to report back to the board and look at contract language. We’re getting close.”

The board is scheduled to hold another executive session following its Tuesday, May 17, meeting to continue discussing the candidates. Morrione said the hope is to announce the board’s decision May 24 and have the new school chief in place July 1.

The position became available last June, when then Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk resigned to become the next superintendent for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, Kentucky, which serves about 40,000 students. Jeanne Crocker was named the interim superintendent for one year following Caulk’s resignation.

Caulk was being paid $137,500 at the time he resigned.

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

Teresa Lance, left, and Xavier Botana are the two finalists to become Portland’s next superintendent of Schools.

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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.