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Superintendent search winds down

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GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central School board expects to introduce the district’s new superintendent at the February board meeting, if not sooner.

The announcement of the corporation’s top administrator will be the culmination of roughly eight months of searching for the right candidate, board president Retta Livengood said this week. The district’s new leader will replace Dr. Linda Gellert, who is retiring at the end of the school year after nine years as the corporation superintendent.

The board has narrowed that search down to its top two candidates, one of which is from within the corporation, Livengood said. Last week, the board met in a special executive session to discuss the new superintendent’s salary and benefits package.

“We are in such a positively wonderful position to be in the black as a corporation,” Livengood said. “We certainly don’t want to disrupt that momentum that we’ve got. I’m assuming there will probably be some negotiation, as there is in any job offer.”

The current superintendent salary is $124, 320.

Livengood said she expects an official offer will be made to one of the two remaining candidates within the next week.

Board member Kathy Dowling said that while the search has been exhaustive, the process was helped by the University Superintendent Search Team, a network of college officials that spreads the word about job openings, recommends potential candidates and even helps with the screening process.

“They know who’s out there and all about them, so they help us narrow things down,” Dowling said.

Gellert announced her retirement well in advance, prompting board members to begin the search for her replacement early.

Dowling said the board would have liked to have finished the search earlier, but it was difficult to schedule interviews and coordinate board members’ schedules around the holidays.

Board member Ray Kerkhof said the final round of interviews left the board with a difficult choice.

“To be honest with you, I thought every one of our candidates was exceptional,” he said. “It was just a tough decision to narrow it down to one, and I’m quite honestly glad that we”re done. It’s been a long process, but I think it’s been a good process.”

Kerkhof said the board was careful to consider input from a variety of stakeholders along the way. School administrators and other staff were invited to one round of interviews, and a public survey was also posted online so members of the community could weigh in.

“It just didn’t come from the board itself,” Kerkhof said. “We used a lot of the input that we asked for when we made this selection.”

Kerkhof said the community’s sentiments were varied, but many expressed the desire to see an experienced leader who would interact with the public.

Board member Steve Menser said the corporation will be in a good position under its new leader.

“I’m sure either one – even our last four finalists – would have been excellent,” he said. “It does boil down to their experience and being in administrative positions leading schools and things of that nature.”

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