ACSU sets agenda for superintendent search

MIDDLEBURY — An ad hoc committee will formally re-boot the search for a new Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) superintendent next month, in hopes of interviewing and hiring a finalist by early next year.
The ACSU board on Sept. 19 endorsed that search timeline, along with salary parameters and a list of “essential characteristics” for the new superintendent. The new leader will replace Gail Conley, who was hired as interim superintendent in July 2011 following the departure of former top administrator Lee Sease. Conley has since shed the “interim” moniker. He led the ACSU and its nine member-schools through all of the past school year and has agreed to continue until a new superintendent is hired.
But finding that new ACSU superintendent has been a tough proposition. The most recent effort was suspended last April when the search committee decided the finalist was not a good fit for the district and did not forward the name to the full ACSU board.
The ACSU Superintendent Screening Committee, chaired by Peter Conlon of Cornwall, said his 12-member panel will resume the search in October with the intent of placing advertising by early November so that interviews of prospective candidates can begin in late December/early January. This could lead to final interviews and the recommendation of a top candidate to the ACSU board by next January or February.
“If the (finalist) is not currently bound by contract, we would look to hire that person as soon as possible,” Conlon said, though it is likely that most candidates will be bound to their current jobs until the end of the academic year.
In the meantime, the ACSU board has determined the new superintendent will be offered an annual salary of between $117,000 and $123,000. That’s up from the previously advertised range of $112,000 to $117,000. Board members elected to sweeten the salary range given a few of the extra challenges that go with being the ACSU superintendent. Chief among them: The person will be accountable to eight separate school boards in a district that encompasses seven communities. The ACSU serves K-12 students in Middlebury, Shoreham, Bridport, Salisbury, Weybridge, Cornwall and Ripton.
The ACSU board has also agreed on a core set of skills the new superintendent should bring with him or her. They include experience in teacher contract negotiations; being well-versed the new “Common Core State Standards” system of student assessment that will be in place in Vermont schools by 2015; being an effective and articulate communicator of the district’s goals; and having superior organizational skills in a complex management environment.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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