November 19, 2013

posted Nov 26, 2013, 1:28 PM by Dawna Green   [ updated Nov 26, 2013, 1:28 PM ]

Attendees:  Virginia Dwyer, Karen Campbell, Bethany Hanley, John Simpson, Jim Moulton, Martha Leggat,


Absent:  Bob Vail, Gigi Sanchez, Pete Wilson


Objectives: Establish dates for focus groups

                  Organize screening committee


Discussion and Agreements:


a) Establish dates for focus groups - Ken led the discussion of focus groups utilizing several handouts "The Community Focus Groups - A NESDEC Guide for Action", " Draft of a Press Release", "Sample letter to community groups/parents/town officials,etc." and "Draft of School Posting".  The purpose of the focus groups is to 1) establish those areas where members of the community and the school system feel should be priorities for the new executive, 2) affords the opportunity for the community to work with the consultant and have some worthwhile input into the search process, and 3) establishes a profile of the attributes and skills a new Superintendent should have to best match the needs of the district.


Ken emphasized that the major objective is to involve as many representatives from as many different groups as possible.  Teachers, students, community members, parents with kids in the schools, pre-school parents, retirees, business leaders, town officials, police and fire department, booster clubs, etc.  Ken will run 6 focus groups, it is the board's job to schedule the focus groups and to get the word out as broadly as possible. Good discussion was held about how to inform community members.  All Board members present agreed that individual outreach from Board members to community members would be needed as well.  Board is looking forward to the results of the focus groups to help inform the board and district administration. Agreements:  Focus groups dates/times were selected


  • Monday, December 9, 2013 - 10am (Parents/Community),

  • 2:30pm (GMS/GHS staff), 7pm (Parents/Community)

Thursday, December 12,2013 - 9am (A-Team), 10:30 or 11am (students)  3:30pm  (MIW/NYMS staff), 7pm (Parents/Community)

  • Friday, December 13, 2013 - open for snow day or maybe if something needs to be moved. (Addition after the meeting per Ken/Karen 7:30 or 8am (School Board)


b) Organize Screening Committee - Ken led the discussion of how to organize the Screening Committee, again with a comprehensive and detailed group of handouts.  The group of board members in attendance agreed with the Ken that utilizing a Screening Committee made up of representatives from various school/district groups (Ken's handout listed 12 different groups) was the appropriate path to take.  Discussion moved to the size of the committee.  Ken cautioned against a committee that was too large because it limits the degree to which people can participate.  Groups should consist of an odd number to avoid ties if a vote is taken.  Recommended group size is 9-11.  Utilizing the guidelines provided by NESDEC in their " Composition of the Screening Committee" handout, the following agreements were reached on Screening Committee size.


Agreement: 13 members:


2 Board of Directors

2 Administrators (one from Central Office, one principal)

2 Teachers

1 Support Staff

1 Student (position to be shared by both of our Board members since its mid-terms during the week of selection.  Both would attend the interviews

3 Residents

2 town officials (one from each town, selected by the Town Council/Board of Selectmen)



Additionally discussion was held on the process used to populate the committee.  Ken cautioned against too many members from the BOD on the screening committee so that there isn't the perception of any one group having undue influence in the process.  He recommended that the Chair, in this case, Karen Campbell be one of the two members for a variety of reasons; i.e. is the liaison with Ken already, it is generally the practice and expectation that the Chair is involved in the full process of the Superintendent Search unless they are unable to serve in that capacity, etc. Agreement: All Board members present agreed that Karen Campbell should be one of the Screening Committee members.


Discussion continued on the selection of the second Board member.  Ken suggested one approach would be to put all members names who can commit to serving for the full time the Screening Committee meets in a hat and drawing out a name.  Karen pointed out that the Board is not scheduled to meet again until December 2nd and questioned the timing due to holidays, etc.  Bethany suggested that we should consider naming one of the Board members from North Yarmouth to the committee so that we have representation from the 2 district communities.  Virginia and Martha agreed that it would be important for some North Yarmouth residents to feel that both communities were represented by the BOD on the screening committee.  Jim Moulton indicated that in fairness to Cumberland then, maybe we should consider 3 Board members on the screening committee so that there is representation that is equivalent to the overall board representation.  Bethany and Karen did not see equivalent representation as an issue, but supported the idea of the second board member being from North Yarmouth, particularly since all 3 North Yarmouth representatives were present.  Virginia indicated that although she would love to serve, she cannot for work reasons.  Jim Moulton indicated that he also would not be able to serve on the screening committee.  Martha is available to serve on the screening committee and would welcome the opportunity to serve on the screening committee.  Jim Moulton expressed a desire to ask all Board members their opinion.  Karen pointed out that, all 9 members of the board will be participating in the final interview and selection process, this decision was only for the screening committee.  Additionally all board members agreed to the timeline for the superintendent search process and were aware of the decisions that the board needed to make this evening. Virginia remarked that adding a third board member would make the committee even at 14, so we would have to add another committee member or subtract a member from another group.  Neither option (i.e. 14 committee member, 15 members,  removing one member from another area, or postponing the decision) appealed to the majority of the group.  Discussion shifted again to Martha's ability and availability and those in attendance agreed to Martha as the second Board member.  Agreement: All Board members present agreed that Martha Leggat should be the second Board member on the Screening Committee. Administrators, Teachers, Support Staff, and Town Officials will all be given a)the number of representatives we need b) the dates and times members will need to commit to c) information provided NESDEC as to the process, and will be allowed to select their own representative. Our two student representatives will share the student spot during the application review process, but both will be at the interviews.  If they can't commit, we will seek one student from the high school.  Residents (3) will be selected through inviting all interested parties to submit an email or a written letter indicating their interest and a brief paragraph as to why they would like to serve on the committee.  All must agree, up front, to be available for ALL the dates indicated in the timeline, names will be picked out of a hat by one of our student reps.