Pioneer School Committee interviews director of finance candidate, continues to accept applications

  • Andrea Albee interviewed for the director of finance position with the Pioneer Valley Regional School District during a School Committee meeting on July 29. Screenshot/BNCTV

Staff Writer
Published: 8/3/2021 3:30:32 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Regional School District School Committee interviewed a sole candidate for the director of finance position last week after another recommended candidate dropped out, and members explained they have extended the job posting, leaving the door open for other applications to be accepted through Friday, Aug. 6.

Outgoing Director of Finance Tanya Gaylord gave her resignation, effective July 30, on June 2. Following the notice, School Committee members formed a search committee chaired by Alan Genovese. The search committee recommended candidate Andrea Albee, who was interviewed on July 29. Another candidate who was recommended dropped out after accepting another position elsewhere in the state, Genovese said.

Albee is currently employed as a controller in the business office of the Dublin School, a college preparatory school in Dublin, N.H. She shared her personal interests in horseback riding, and spending time exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog. She also said her professional values include aiming “to make certain that the opportunity for education is equal for everybody” and to “make sure that there are resources in the budget to provide those opportunities.”

Highlights of her work in just the last six months, she said, include updating a payroll system, a human resources system and accounting system. In the last two years, she said she had done two audits and one bond closure. Albee also shared an experience helping a school district, which she did not name, out of a notable deficit.

“I interviewed for a position, that at the time of the interview they said we were going to have a $50,000 surplus,” Albee said. “My first day on the job I was told that I had a $450,000 deficit. … By the time I left, which was two and a half to three years after that, we definitely had a surplus.”

Albee said she accomplished this by working with department heads to “eagle eye” the budget expenses, and by working with administrators to negotiate adjustments as needed. If one department has a slight surplus and another is slightly under budget, she goes to the department with extra money and ask to transfer it to the other department. She said it was important to have departments work with each other “for the good of the organization” and to avoid running into a deficit.

Reflecting later in the July 29 meeting, School Committee members said they were pleased with Albee’s people skills and her “focus on the kids.” However, they were dissatisfied with her admission that she had not thoroughly researched the district ahead of the interview.

School Committee Vice Chair Michael Townsley also said he felt Albee had the “willingness” to earn further certifications for the position. While he said she is a “very strong candidate” and was pleased with the interview, he and other members said they still hope to receive other applications and not hire in haste.

“I think one of the key things is she has to stay at her job, because she’s loyal to that position right now, which is what we want to see, until September,” Townsley noted. “What that does is it provides us time, it allows us to see if there’s more candidates. … I hope that we have more candidates, so you can get that wow factor. But the other wow factor is, ‘Wow, there’s only one candidate that showed up.’”

Before Albee’s interview, School Committee Chair Julie Burke explained the job posting was extended because while it was originally posted without the salary, members voted at a previous meeting to repost the job advertisement with the salary, and voted to increase the salary from $100,000 to $125,000 to be “more in line with neighboring districts.” Genovese said the committee hoped posting the job with the updated salary would encourage more applicants, but he was “discouraged” as it was reposted July 23 and the committee hadn’t head from anyone by its July 29 meeting.

The district will continue to accept applications for the director of finance position through Friday, Aug. 6. Genovese also said he would breach conversations with the Gill-Montague Regional School District to consider the potential for having a shared business manager/director of finance position.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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