BAR HARBOR — The search for a new superintendent for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System has begun.
The school board voted at a special meeting May 26 to contract with the Maine School Management Association (MSMA) to assist with the recruitment process and in soliciting community input. The MSMA estimates that the cost of its services will not exceed $12,000, but the school board authorized spending up to $18,000, if needed.
Marc Gousse, who has served as superintendent since July 2016, plans to retire at the end of this year, but has said he would stay on through next June if the school board wants him to.
The board will create an ad hoc committee consisting of at least one board member from each town in the school district to advertise the superintendent’s position, formulate interview questions and plan listening sessions in each town in the school district.
Working with that committee will be Steven Bailey, executive director of the MSMA, who is a former superintendent of the Central Lincoln County School System, and Eileen King, deputy executive director of the MSMA and a former superintendent of the Rocky Channels School System in the Boothbay region.
“I can’t think of two other individuals in the state or New England who are better qualified to assist the board,” Gousse said.
Kristie Losquadro, chairman of the school system board, said, “They have conducted searches for many school districts, and they know our district.”
She said King will help create a survey to go out to teachers, school administrators, parents, elected officials and other community members in each town. The purpose of the survey and the listening sessions, Losquadro said, is to find out what needs people see in their schools and what attributes they would like the next superintendent to bring to the job.
“That may help determine how we write the advertisement, how we form the interview questions and how we establish the (criteria) for deciding who is qualified,” she said.
She said the ad hoc committee will appoint a panel of board members and others to interview well-qualified candidates and make a recommendation to the full school system board. The board will decide which superintendent candidate to offer the position to.
The Maine School Management Association is a nonprofit federation of local school boards and superintendents. Its website states that it assists school boards “in the development of appropriate superintendent search processes, in advertising to recruit broad and representative candidate pools, in obtaining input from staff and communities, and in the receiving of applications and arranging of interviews.”