In a narrow 4-3 vote, the School Committee voted not to re-convene the Superintendent Search Committee in order to consider and interview at least three local candidates that were passed over by the Search Committee.
During the Dec. 2 meeting, outgoing School Committeeman Lester MacLaughlin had presented an item on the agenda calling for a vote to re-convene the search “to consider all candidates.”
Chair Tom Abruzzese and Members Frank Parker, Marcony Almeida Barros and Allen Panarese voted not to re-convene, while MacLaughlin, and Members Millie Cardello and Joe LaMonica voted to start the process over.
Last month, the 15-person Search Committee came before the School Committee to present four finalists for the superintendent of schools position. Within that list of candidates were no local candidates. Additionally, it was revealed that three in-house, local candidates had not even gotten an interview for the job.
They included Interim Supt. Janice Gauthier, Asst. Supt. Charlie Obremsky and Academies Director Omar Easy. Both Easy and Gauthier have been vocal publicly about their disappointment in not being considered, as has Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
A majority of the School Committee and the Search Committee have stuck with the process, though.
Both Almeida Barros and Parker spoke in favor of the process that played out, and said all candidates were considered – but local ones weren’t chosen for interviews, which went to the top 10.
Chair Tom Abruzzese said the process was fair and came about through a democratic vote of 15 people, of which only a few were on the School Committee.
“I don’t know how else to put it, but everyone was considered,” he said. “The fact that no internal candidates got interviews – well 15 people voted and the top 10 candidates were given interviews. Now we’re down to the last four.”
Abuzzese said many who are criticizing the process are bothered that none of the candidates have any experience as superintendent. That, he said, was the same situation when former Supt. Fred Foresteire took the reins more than 30 years ago.
“The prior superintendent was never a superintendent either before his was appointed, but I guess people forget that fact,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways. We are hoping people have confidence in the system. This process has been completely on the up and up. It was all confidential, but I can tell you I didn’t influence anyone’s decision. This idea out there that I strong-armed anyone is ridiculous. Do you think I could strong-arm Dorothy Martin Long, or Football Coach Theluxon Pierre? No way.”
•SCHOOL COMMITTEE INTERVIEW DEC. 14
The School Committee will continue the interviews of the four candidates this week and next, but the entire day of Saturday, Dec. 14, will be taken up by public interviews of all four candidates.
The marathon day will be in the Everett High Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include a public hearing and the public interviews. Before that, Abruzzese said the School Committee intends to go to each candidate’s workplace and find out what others think of them.
The final decision on the superintendent is expected to be made before the end of the year, and could come as soon as Weds. Dec. 18.
Abruzzese said he has been impressed with each and every candidate.
“I’m confident it will all work out,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone believes me or not, but I’m not decided yet on any of the four finalists. I can right now make a case for all four…It’s going to be a difficult decision, but it will be a good kind of difficult decision.”