School board may seek help in search for new super

Rumson and regional boards search for new

Staff Writer

Rumson and regional boards search for new
Staff Writer

RUMSON — Both the borough’s school district and the regional school district are searching for new superintendents.

Dr. Robert Smith, superintendent of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, recently announced he will retire next year. In addition, Dr. Richard Noonan, superintendent of the Rumson School District’s Forrestdale and Deane Porter schools is also leaving the borough.

Noonan, who has been in the district for just under five years, is leaving the district after accepting a position in another district.

At the regular Rumson Board of Education meeting on Thursday of last week, the board was given a synopsis of how to conduct a search for the right superintendent for the district.

Francine Case and Cathy Weber of the New Jersey School Boards Association, are field agents who help districts all over the state find administrators.

Case and Weber described the specific procedures they follow to find the right candidate for a school district. The consultants have just been officially retained by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School to find a suitable replacement for Smith.

"You can’t even begin looking at candidates," said Case, "until you know what your district’s needs are."

The first step in the process is for the consultants to meet with key stake holders. These include members of the PTA, the staff and administrators of the school and community leaders.

That meeting is generally held during the afternoon and is followed by an open community forum that evening.

At both meetings, those present are asked the same four questions: What do you see as the strengths of your district? What are the critical issues facing your district within the next three to four years? What background and skill sets are you looking for? What are the leadership qualities and personal characteristics that you are looking for in a candidate?

After this public meeting, community involvement is kept to a minimum, to protect the privacy of the applicants.

Case and Weber explained they compile the answers and identify the commonalties. Armed with this in­formation, they have an outline of what to ask applicants.

A set of essay questions are formu­lated, based on the four categories of criteria decided upon by the com­munity. This ensures that the search is specific to the district’s needs.

"We want to see what they have done," said Case, "not what they say they could do."

"Our experience tells us," said Case, "that districts such as yours are very attractive for people to want to work in."

In addition to these criteria, ap­plicants for the superintendent’s po­sition must have a School Administrator Certificate, or a School Administrator Certificate of Eligibility.

The individual hired for the su­perintendent’s position is also men­tored during the first year on the job.

Some board members expressed concern that they may end up com­peting with the regional district in the search for the new administrator.

"You will attract different pools of applicants," said Weber, "but you may have some overlap."

The board will discuss whether or not it wishes to use the services of the NJSBA consultants at the next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 26. It could pass a resolution to accept the services at that time.

The cost for the consultants would be $5,000, which is inclusive, other than the cost of advertisements, which can range from $2,000 to $12,000.