Three finalists announced for Gill-Montague superintendent position

  • Gill-Montague Regional School District Superintendent Michael Sullivan is retiring in June, and the district announced three finalists for his position this week. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/11/2020 6:54:49 PM
Modified: 3/11/2020 6:54:38 PM

MONTAGUE — Three finalists for the Gill-Montague Regional School District’s superintendent position have been announced, and their interviews with the School Committee are scheduled.

The finalists are: Brian Beck, principal of Hopkins Academy in Hadley; Karen Ferrandino, director of student services at Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts; and Mary Jane Rickson, the interim superintendent of Maynard Public Schools.

Interviews with the School Committee are scheduled for Monday, March 23, at 5:30 p.m. at Turners Falls High School. The interviews are held in open meetings, so the public is able to attend; but it is not an opportunity for members of the public to interview the candidates themselves.

Current Superintendent Michael Sullivan announced in November that he will retire at the end of June. The School Committee has been working with a consultant from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Tracy Novick, to facilitate the replacement process.

Tuesday’s School Committee’s meeting was the first time that any applicants’ names have been publicized. The initial search was conducted in closed session by a separate committee. This was intended to attract applicants who might have been hesitant to apply to a fully open hiring process, School Committee members have said. The three finalists were chosen by the search committee after an initial review of the applications, as well as closed-session interviews with semi-finalists.

The job opening received 22 applicants, which Novick said this is a typical turnout. Similar superintendent positions have gotten numbers in the high teens or low 20s, she said. Six were interviewed by the search committee in closed session last week, she said.

School Committee members were presented with the finalists’ resumes. Next week, members of the School Committee will individually visit the applicants’ current districts, and in turn, each applicant will visit Gill-Montague.

The list of interview questions to be asked on March 23 will be decided by Novick and School Committee Chair Jane Oakes, but the whole committee brainstormed ideas on Tuesday. Additionally, individual members were assigned to come up with specific questions on certain topics, which Oakes and Novick will narrow down before the interviews. Topics included curriculum development, financial management, staff relationships, social and emotional learning, and equity issues.

All three interviews will be conducted in the March 23 meeting. Interviews normally last a little over an hour, Novick said.

The committee’s subsequent discussions about the interviews will be Tuesday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. At that point the committee can vote to hire, pending contract negotiations, Novick said. The new superintendent will be expected to start in July.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.


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