BAR HARBOR — Deciding who to hire as the new superintendent is the top priority facing the Mount Desert Island Regional School System Board.
The board plans to start the process of forming a search committee later this month. That will be none too soon, according to Howard Colter, who will leave the superintendent’s job next summer.
“There’s no time to stall,” he told the board last week.
He said the board probably should start advertising the position in January, and there is a lot to do before that can happen. The first task, he said, is to decide on the size and makeup of the search committee.
He and others said a committee of more than about 12 people would be unwieldy. At the same time, they said the panel should include board members, teachers, administrators, parents and other community members.
One question is whether each of the elementary school committees needs to have a representative on the search panel.
Board member Eric Henry said it is important for the search committee to be a manageable size.
“We have to make our best judgment as to who this committee is made up of and then trust that those people are going to do the job,” he said.
Board member John Brown recalled that Colter has said it might be difficult to attract the most qualified people because of the nature of the job. With nine schools in the system, each with its own budget and governing committee, the number of meetings alone can be daunting.
But board Chairman Charlie Wray was more optimistic about attracting good candidates.
“We are a set of communities that have a big tax base, a great set of faculty, good schools and a very desirable location with a national park,” he said. “There are a lot of things going for us, so there might be some really interesting candidates willing to take on a job like this.”
In fact, Wray said, it probably would be easier than running a large urban school system.
“This would be a pleasure to run compared to something like that, where there are lots of budget problems, no art programs, no music.”
All in all, Wray said, “We may be difficult, but we’re not impossible.”