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Randolph

School Committee picks internal candidate to replace superintendent

The Randolph School Committee has decided to replace outgoing Superintendent Oscar Santos with its only internal applicant for the job, who would fill the position for a yet-to-be-determined length of time.

Committee members took turns interviewing Steven Moore, who has been a district administrator since 2006, for more than an hour last Thursday night, focusing on his plans to continue improving the district’s state rating after Santos leaves at the end of June. The public school system, which has nearly 3,000 students, must improve measurably or risk going into state receivership. Moore was given the job with a 6-1 vote. 

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A contract has not been negotiated, but School Committee chairman Andrew Azer said Moore will probably serve through fiscal year 2014 while a search for a permanent superintendent is conducted.

Santos announced in November that he would not seek to renew his contract because he and the School Committee had differing priorities.

During his interview Moore highlighted the district’s need for more teamwork and a “leader to bridge the gap between the students’ capabilities and results.” Moore also referred several times to his desire “to continue the good work started by Dr. Santos.” He emphasized Randolph High’s need for a “new brand” as well as the need for students to develop “21st-century skills.”

He referred to the five months until Santos’ departure as a “transition period” that would give him an advantage over outside applicants. He added that as a new superintendent, he would be entitled to a mentor from the Mass. Department of Education and said he’d “select one with experience in turning around underperforming urban districts.”

“I’ve been the number two guy. I want to be the number one guy,” said Moore.

Committee members complimented Moore and agreed that they would have liked more time to develop a larger pool of candidates. Only the committee’s newest member, Bruce Pontbriand, voted against hiring Moore.

Pontbriand noted the lack of specifics in Moore’s responses to many questions and said that the district needs “a leader who can articulate their vision.”

Because a search for a superintendent can take up to a year, Azer said the committee “will need to begin a search for the next superintendent almost immediately.”

Jim Morrison can be reached at jamesandrewmorrison@gmail.com.
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