The Groton Board of Education has decided to hire an interim superintendent as quickly as possible and is reviewing a list of potential candidates for the job.
The board met in a “non-meeting” Monday evening - which means its discussion was not publicly posted in advance - after an executive session to discuss pending litigation and central office employee performance.
Board Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt said she had contacted the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and Connecticut Association of Personnel Services about a search. The personnel association maintains a list of retired superintendents interested in interim positions.
The Groton school board began looking over names on the list Monday.
“In light of the circumstances that we are all aware of, we do not have the luxury of time,” Board Member Chaz Zezulka said.
Zezulka said he heard from two people interested in the interim job in Groton: Collette Trailor, who served as interim superintendent in districts including Griswold, and Mark Winzler, who served as interim superintendent in Rocky Hill.
The board agreed to gather again Wednesday to continue its discussion. That gathering may or may not be publicly posted as a meeting.
Former Waterford Superintendent Randall Collins handles searches for the association of boards of education and spoke to the board at length Monday about the process.
He is also on the list of potential interim leaders.
In addition, Acting Groton Superintendent Mary Anne Butler said Paul Gagliarducci, who works in Bozrah and is her former superintendent, offered to help if needed.
Advice on Investigation
The board is searching for an interim leader because it pending an investigation of his “interactions with and treatment of district employees." The board did not give specifics.
That investigation is not yet complete, board members said.
Collins advised them to have it done quickly; he said dragging it out would make matters worse.
Board members said they’re looking for a leader who’s experienced with the issues Groton is facing: redistricting, closing schools, consolidation, racial imbalance and strengthening magnet schools.
Groton is proceeding with plans to , and is reviewing . That plan is being re-evaluated by a consultant and will not be finalized until mid June.
The district is also dealing with a racial imbalance at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School and pending imbalances at five other schools.
Sense of Calm
Collins urged the school board to fill the interim job before the school year ends.
He said teachers need a sense of calm before they leave for the summer so they know there will be order when they return to school in the fall.
“Your real goal is that kids are served, and that school is run quietly and calmly while you deal with turmoil,” he said.
The board is not obligated to discuss its potential hires in public, members said.
Typically, interim superintendents are hired at a per diem rate comparable to the salary of the superintendent they temporarily replace, Hoyt said.
Kadri is paid a base salary of $167,475 under his contract.
A Hard Job
Long term, Collins said there are many qualified superintendents. But he said it’s a hard job that has become harder. It pays well, but the demands and long hours compared to a principal’s job, for example, sometimes make people wonder if it’s worth it, he said.
The job has also become increasingly political, and a problem with one person can bring a superintendent down, Collins said.
But he said the right fit can be found.
He said he gives school boards this advice: “Never settle. If you can’t find them on the fist round, go out and look again.”