ORLEANS — If everything goes according to plan, the Nauset Regional Schools will name a new superintendent by Jan. 29, 2022.
Thus far, the search committee has held four public forums and sent out a questionnaire to gather parent opinions on what they are looking for in the new leader, who will succeed retired Supt. Tom Conrad. Conrad served since 2015, following 21 years as Nauset Regional High School’s principal. The public input will be used to write the job description to be posted between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, said consultant Kathleen Spencer of the Grenier Company.
Parent participation as of Monday has not been great. The largest school district on the Outer Cape, Nauset has an enrollment of 1,426. But only 135 responses to a four-question survey sent to parents on Oct. 14 were returned, according to consultant Patricia Grenier. The questionnaire was open to other residents who went to the district’s website to fill it out.
Just 10 parents attended an Oct. 18 forum, while none showed up for the two previous forums, and only a handful came to the first, said Chris Easley, a Wellfleet parent and chair of the regional school committee.
The parents who appeared on Oct. 18 sketched out a picture of what they wanted.
Constance Kremer, who has children in the Orleans elementary and Nauset middle schools, said, “I would love to see a superintendent who is inspired and an excellent listener,” adding, “I would love to see a female in this role. It is time.”
Others said they wanted a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and someone who will pay attention to social-emotional learning. A leader who will encourage professional development and best-practice models was another priority.
Rhonda Sigel, who has a child at the high school, said that the new head should be able to cope with the high school renovation slated to take place between 2022 and 2025. Sigel said she hopes school choice, which currently brings in about one-third of the student population, continues. “I find it to be very enriching,” she said.
A call for candidates for the job of interim superintendent yielded 19 applicants, many of them women, including Brooke Clenchy, who was hired. Clenchy, who started in July, is applying for the permanent job.
Many parents were specific about what they see as Nauset’s strengths.
Brewster parent Erica Tso Haidas said the past two years have “been kind of crazy” due to the pandemic, “and the teachers have been so dedicated to the students.” Teachers did not bring their own stress to the children, she said.
The district is well funded, added Adam O’Shea of Eastham.
The staff is talented, and the region has been committed to education, said Easley.
Torr Olsen of Brewster described a strong sense of community, adding that he would like the new head to continue in the same vein as the past. “Keep up the general trajectory,” he said. “Keep the momentum toward quality and advocating for the children. That is really all. Keep the standards high.”
The search committee includes six school committee members: Richard Stewart, Judy Schumacher, Judi Lech, Ann Crozier, Martha Gordon, and Gail Briere. Two parents, two teachers, two administrators, two students, and a central office staffer will join in the decision-making at future meetings, said Briere, chair of the committee. Parents can apply to be on the committee by emailing Arlynn Consiglio, the superintendent’s assistant, at [email protected].
The public can follow and participate in the hiring process by watching the virtual search committee meetings beginning Nov. 10 with the first meeting with new members.
On Jan. 8, during a five-hour work session, the committee plans to announce the finalists and draft final interview questions, Spencer said. There will be site visits to the finalists’ places of work, and then interviews will be conducted on Jan. 27 in an open meeting.
The new superintendent will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 29, and will start on July 1, 2022.
To access meeting links, go to the Nauset School District website and click on “administration.” Choose the fifth option on the drop-down menu, “superintendent search fall of 2021.”