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Greenfield Public Schools

Greenfield schools begin supt. search

GREENFIELD ­— The Greenfield School Committee will soon start a superintendent search — while simultaneously evaluating the school department’s current leader, Susan Hollins.

Neither Hollins nor the school board are ruling out a seventh Greenfield school year for the superintendent in 2014.

But because her one-year contract calls for a minimum 90-day window of notice, she could wait until the end of March to make a final decision — and school board members thought it wise to begin a search now to prepare for all possible outcomes.

Hollins told the committee at its Wednesday meeting that there’s a minimum of nine meetings left before her contract expires. She wants to ensure a proper transition plan is in place for whenever her successor — providing that’s necessary — takes over.

“I am the person that redesigned your entire school system from rubble,” she told the committee. “I am a repository of a terrific amount of knowledge about the school system and there isn’t anybody else in the school system that has all of that knowledge.”

“What’s the best way I can get you the information that you’re going to need to carry on, whenever that is?” she asked.

Hollins was in the final year of a contract last year, too. But she did not make any public comments then about a transition plan, nor did the school board initiate a superintendent search.

In fact, there was virtually no mention of her future plans until June 12, when her one-year $150,000 contract was approved in a 4-0 vote. A 120-day notice provision was reduced to 90 days in her new contract.

When asked after the meeting how she felt about an ongoing superintendent search before she announced her intent to leave, Hollins said that a change in superintendents “is one of the most significant events that influences a school system.”

“The job is a very difficult job,” she said. “It is important to give the change process a lot of thought so the best interests of the community and school system are considered.”

Her contract stipulates that she will be evaluated this year according to the state’s new administrator evaluation system — a year-long process that involves a self-evaluation, collaborative goal setting, progress reports and a committee evaluation.

The board did not evaluate Hollins last year.

Committee members attended a training session about superintendent evaluations immediately before Wednesday’s meeting. Mayor William Martin, the committee chairman, directed two separate subcommittees to further review the process and report back with a schedule and plan next month.

Hollins questioned whether spending time on the evaluation with the committee was the best use of their limited mutual time together this year.

But members stressed it was important to perfect the superintendent evaluation system this year because it’s a tool that will be used to measure the success of future Greenfield administrators.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
cshores@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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