Sunday, October 12, 2008

"We ask them virtually to perform miracles"

The Framingham and Franklin school systems face a common problem - the need to hire a new superintendent - but they're looking to solve it in different ways.

They're among at least 11 school systems in the region that have either hired new district leaders in the past year or are in the process of doing so. Some, like Franklin, have sought to nurture internal talent and hire from within the school district. Others, like Framingham, have put out a nationwide call for applications.

Both approaches reflect a desire to hire the best leaders from what area school officials say is a shrinking pool of candidates for a growing number of openings.

Just last week, Shrewsbury's longtime superintendent, Anthony Bent, announced he will be retiring at the end of the academic year.

Bent, who has headed Shrewsbury's system for 15 years, said the School Committee will search for his successor both inside and outside the district, casting a broad net in order to "have the best potential pool to choose from."

Thomas Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said there have been between 50 and 60 superintendent vacancies in each of the last five years, up from fewer than 10 annual openings a decade ago. Each open slot used to draw 75 or more applications, whereas school districts are now lucky to get 20 applications, he said.

Read the full article in the Boston Sunday Globe West section here

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