The Boston School Committee has taken initial steps in finding the district’s next district leader, the third superintendent search in eight years. Committee members this week approved a nine-person team that will assist in the search.
Last month, Brenda Cassellius announced she will be leaving her role as head of Boston Public Schools in June after three years on the job. Her decision to leave has been described as a “mutual decision” by Mayor Michelle Wu. Since the announcement of Cassellius’ sudden departure, Wu and School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson said the goal is to hire a permanent replacement by the beginning of the next school year.
”As mayor I’m ready to use every platform and resource to ensure our young people will be a priority across every sector and institution in the city,” Wu said in a statement. “To meet the urgency and potential across BPS, we must not only choose a Superintendent who can build a long-lasting legacy, but also empower school communities and invest in a leadership team ready to collectively tackle our challenges and opportunities.”
Here’s what to know about the next steps in the superintendent search:
Who are the committee members?
The newly appointed search committee will be tasked with writing the superintendent job description, reviewing applications, and selecting the finalists. The members of the committee are:
- Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger,
- Chair of the BPS Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEdPAC) Roxi Harvey,
- Committee members Lorena Lopera and Michael O’Neill,
- Fenway High School student Marcus McNeill,
- Head of School at Channing Elementary School Carline Pignato,
- Secondary School Superintendent at Boston Public Schools Gene Roundtree,
- Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang, and
- Boston Latin Academy teacher José Valenzuela.
The search committee will kick off a series of listening sessions for the public via Zoom this month to get feedback from the community on what should be including the superintendent’s job description and to update them on the search process.
The first meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. Wedneday. The following session is for Spanish speakers from 6-8 p.m. March 15, and the committee will host a student listening session 6-8 p.m. March 24. There will be another public listening session from 10 a.m. to noon April 2.
The public can also submit feedback to the School Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through an online survey the city plans to provide.
“By centering the voices of BPS families and students, external partners and stakeholders and the City of Boston at large, we will help ensure this critical decision is mutually beneficial as we seek to stabilize district leadership for the continued advancement and wellbeing of our BPS community,” Robinson said in a statement.
Last week, the district posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a search firm to help with the hiring process. The deadline for search firms to respond to the RFP is March 18. The School Committee will choose one by early April.
Between April and May, the search firm will complete background checks on candidates, then the search committee will review applications and interview candidates in executive session. The committee will then select finalists for the public to interview.
Public interviews for the finalists are expected in early-to-mid June. Following the public interviews, the School Committee members will vote on an offer to their superintendent selection.