Frontier School Committee decides interim superintendent 

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/21/2018 11:15:30 PM

DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School Principal Darius Modestow will serve as interim superintendent for the Frontier Regional and Union #38 School Districts while the districts conduct a search for a permanent superintendent to replace Lynn Carey, who is resigning.

After a three-hour joint meeting between the districts at Frontier, the committees voted to proceed with an internal job posting for the position, which Modestow was nominated for in a letter to school committee members by Union #38 and Frontier Regional District administrators.

An interim principal will take Modestow’s place while he is interim superintendent.

The letter, dated May 21 and read at the meeting, included the signatures of 11 district administrators who voiced their support for making Modestow interim superintendent.

“As members of the district administrative team, we have the highest confidence in Darius Modestow, whose leadership at Frontier Regional School reflects his exceptional skills as an administrator,” stated the letter. “A consistently strong leader, Mr. Modestow has maintained the highest standards of professional excellence at Frontier Regional, honoring diverse opinions, building consensus and inspiring everyone who works in the district.”

The letter also mentioned Modestow’s experience in overseeing the budget and his successes at Frontier in the past five years he has served as principal.

Opposing views

Five options were laid out for the committee: the first two dealt with an external search which would not have allowed Modestow to take the interim position, and the last three dealt with an internal search.

The first external search option would have required the committee to hire an interim superintendent by June 30, hire a search organization for $12,000 to $22,000 in September, appoint a search committee and advertise the position in October, and hire a superintendent by February 2019.

The second external search option also required an interim superintendent to be hired by June 30, appoint a search committee by June, conduct interviews and site visits in July and appoint a new permanent superintendent by August.

The internal search options included a superintendent subcommittee, public interviews and contract negotiations, and hiring either an interim superintendent or interim principal.

Committee members were divided; some voiced their support for Modestow to take the permanent superintendent position, others preferred for him to take the interim position. Some believed that only an external search should take place but agreed that Modestow could put an application in if he wants the job.

Future plans

A meeting will be held June 18 to invite public comment and also publicly interview Modestow.

While this postpones the appointment of a superintendent for a year, Modestow will serve as superintendent for the 2018/2019 school year and allow the committees to search for a permanent candidate.

Modestow, as interim superintendent, and the permanent Frontier and Union 38 superintendent would oversee independent town elementary schools in Conway, Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately, and grades 7 through 12 in the four towns.

Public comment

Stacey Myre, a Sunderland resident, voiced her concern that parents had not been notified of the superintendent’s resignation directly, she learned about it from another school committee meeting that was posted online.

Myre also suggested that the districts involve a parent member from each of the district’s towns on the superintendent subcommittee, which had not been formed yet.

“Each of our four towns deserve to have equal representation,” she said.

At the end of the meeting, multiple committee members volunteered to become a part of the subcommittee to search for a permanent superintendent.

Superintendent resignation

Superintendent Lynn Carey announced last week that she is retiring from the position after two years, citing inconvenient hours that kept her away from her home and husband.

A resignation letter sent to the School Committee Chair Bob Halla May 1 stated she will step down from the position as of June 30.

Carey began her position in July 2016 after being the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the Monadnock Regional School District in Swanzey, N.H.

Reach Christie Wisniewski at: 413-772-0261, ext. 280


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