BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island Regional School System (MDIRSS) is no place for a novice superintendent to be cutting his or her teeth, retiring Superintendent Howard Colter told the school board Monday night.
Board Chairman Charlie Wray agreed.
“I don’t think anybody, including this board, wants a brand new superintendent to come in to a [district] that is high performing but also complex in its organizational structure,” he said.
The school board is restarting the superintendent search process after deciding two weeks ago not to hire either of the two finalists selected by the search committee.
The school system originally posted the job opening Jan. 11. The deadline for submitting applications was Feb. 1.
Wray said the idea was to get ahead of other school districts, but that might have been too soon to start.
No cut-off date has been set for the second round of applications. Wray said Monday that he already had received several.
School board member Judy Sproule said that, while there isn’t a lot of time to tarry, the board shouldn’t be in a huge hurry to select a new superintendent.
“It takes time to spread the word,” she said. And she noted that several other school districts in Maine also are looking for superintendents. They include Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and Gray-New Gloucester.
“Once they make their decision, I image that their semi-finalists might be in a position to consider applying here,” Sproule said.
Wray said that, while he agreed, there is another factor to consider.
“Current superintendents don’t want to get near July 1 and then tell their communities, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m a finalist for [Mount Desert Island].’
“I’m not going to wait to see the second-place finisher in Cape Elizabeth; not to say that we’re better than Cape Elizabeth.”
Wray, along with a representative of each MDIRSS town’s school committee, will review applications and conduct private interviews, perhaps by video, with those who meet the qualifications for the job. Then, he said, a small group of candidates would be brought in to meet with the full board and possibly a few others, such as teachers and administrators.
After that, Wray said, one or two finalists likely would be selected to meet with teachers, principals, staff members, parents and other community members.