Several Everett officials and a couple of local candidates for the superintendent are sounding the alarm on the process to pick a new school leader – saying the local candidates should have been considered.
Given the nature of the School Department, with the former leader being charged criminally for alleged sexual misconduct over a period of years, the Search Committee was clearly tasked early with the idea of whether to start fresh with people from outside, or to consider candidates from within the system.
Last week, it was revealed that no internal candidates for the position were even interviewed, and that has caused some controversy locally.
It was clearly enunciated by Interim Supt. Janice Gauthier at the meeting on Nov. 13.
“I do feel hurt because I stood up at a time when this City needed somebody to step up,” she said. “I always have stepped up. I’ve got 49 years in this district and I couldn’t get an interview. I was born and brought up in Everett. I stood up all the time and I couldn’t get an interview. That’s it. I said my piece.”
Omar Easy, the director of the new Academies at Everett High, said he was disappointed the candidates – including himself – were not given a chance to interview.
“I am very disappointed that the candidates, including the interim superintendent and others, were eliminated from the process without a chance to show their vision or a strategic plan to achieve that vision,” he said. “It’s an issue. It’s a very critical time for the students in our district. It could be so bad it would take decades to recover if we have the wrong hire. We’re in a great place now. The Academies are up and students are happy. If we get the wrong person that comes in, they could blow it up and put us back or even into receivership…You can’t be a graduate student and come to Everett and run our school system. That’s not ok. It’s an embarrassment to all the educated administrators in the district.”
Easy is referring to the credentials of the four final candidates, all from outside the district and some that are still in school studying for their doctorate or advanced degrees.
Chair Tom Abruzzese said there was much debate on the Search Committee about internal and external candidates, but the finalists – all from outside – were voted on unanimously by the Committee.
“I understand where you’re coming from and that was mentioned during the process,” he said. “The candidates that were ultimately brought in I can only recommend to you. The proof is going to be in the pudding. We got some internal candidates in…The Search Committee decided these are the four best for the position.”