Yarmouth on 'ambitious' schedule to hire new school chief

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YARMOUTH — When William Michaud started his new job earlier this month, his top priority was somewhat unusual: He was tasked with finding his own replacement, as soon as possible.

Michaud, who is the School Department’s new interim superintendent, hopes to find a permanent superintendent by July 1, 2014.

The candidate search was a topic of discussion Aug. 22 during a School Board meeting. Michaud said expected the board to approve an “ambitious” time line to find the ideal candidate.

Michaud is the second interim superintendent this year. On Aug. 5, he replaced interim Superintendent Ronald Baker, who signed on after the last full-time superintendent, Judy Paolucci, resigned in December 2012.

Barker, who left the interim post this summer to work at the University of Southern Maine, will remain instrumental in the superintendent search, Michaud said. For instance, it was Barker’s time line that the board discussed last week.

Michaud said the proposed time line calls for advertising the position in October, interviewing candidates in early January and, hopefully, welcoming a new superintendent on July 1, 2014.

“It’s an ambitious time line, but it’s certainly doable,” Michaud said. “We’d like to get out of the chute early.”

The district will likely advertise in Maine newspapers and Education Week, a national trade publication that “gets to everybody that may be interested,” Michaud said. The district is also considering working with a consulting company.

Nonetheless, finding the right candidate is a challenge, Michaud said.

“It’s seems like it’s becoming more and more difficult to find really good people who fit into a community,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest issues: Making sure you’ve got somebody who’s the right fit.”

The original search began in February, after Paolucci resigned her four-year post Dec. 21, 2012, for an administrative position in Leicester, Mass. Last spring, the committee received 22 applications and interviewed five candidates, but none met the committee’s standards, according to Margaret Groban, chairwoman of the superintendent search committee.

Michaud, 61, an attorney who lives in Portland, said things are going well in his new, albeit temporary position.

“It’s a great place,” he said. “It’s a quality school district; it really is. When you consider that, in a period of about 40 years, they only had two superintendents, they certainly have stability here and it shows. It would be great if we could find a superintendent who will be here for the long haul.”

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or bmccanna@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.