By ERIN ROLL
The Montclair Board of Education has chosen a new superintendent, Board President Eve Robinson announced at its April 20 meeting, though the board is waiting to finalize the process before they reveal their pick.
Once the chosen finalist has undergone the required background checks signed an employment contract, Robinson said that the district will convene a remote meeting with the new superintendent so they can be introduced to the BOE and to the public.
The district worked with the New Jersey School Boards Association on the candidate application and interview process. Seventy people applied, and of that number, 50 completed the application process.
The pool of superintendent candidates was narrowed down to two unnamed finalists earlier this month.
The Board of Education has declined to name any of the candidates or finalists, a departure from the 2018 superintendent search that resulted in the hiring of Kendra Johnson. That search included a public forum at which the three finalists took questions from the public.
“Confidentiality of candidate information has become increasingly important to the integrity of a superintendent search and the ability to attract the most highly qualified candidates,” Robinson said at a previous BOE meeting.
For this search, the public was given the opportunity to contribute questions and comments during two public forums held at the schools on Feb. 10. All of that input was handed on to the BOE, to be used in assembling the interview questions that would be asked of each candidate.
Interviews took place remotely after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal was to have a new superintendent chosen by May 1, and for that person to officially begin work on July 1. The May 1 deadline was picked, Robinson said at a previous BOE meeting, so that the finalist could give 60-day notice to their present employers.
On the prior search superintendent search in 2018, the district consulted search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates. The 2018 search was more visible to the public, including a forum in which three named finalists answered questions from the public.
Montclair has had six superintendents – two full-time and four interim – since the departure of then-superintendent Frank Alvarez in 2012: Penny MacCormack, Clarence Hoover, Ron Bolandi, Barbara Pinsak, Kendra Johnson, and current interim superintendent Nathan Parker.