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Two Salem school superintendent finalists to interview Thursday

Posted by Justin Rice  August 2, 2011 12:15 PM

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By Justin A. Rice, Town Correspondent

The two finalists for the recently vacated Salem public schools superintendent position will be interviewed on Thursday afternoon at Collins Middle School.

The interview sessions with Dr. Debra Bradley and Dr. Stephen Russell begin at 1 p.m. and are open to the public. Bradley was most recently the superintendent of the Sausalito Marin City School District near San Francisco, while Russell was superintendent in Dartmouth, MA.

“Both of these candidates have been excellent superintendents in other school districts that we brought in not only for their experience but their willingness to work in an innovative school district,” said Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who also chairs the school committee. “We have a number of new programs, both a charter school and innovation school and a building construction project going on.

“We wanted to find a candidate that is a good for fit for those items as well and they brought those skills to the table.”

Driscoll said Thursday's interviews will be a good chance to see how the finalists handle public meetings.

“That gives the wider audience a chance to understand the selection process and see the strengths and weakness of the candidates,” Driscoll said, noting that the public will not have a chance to ask questions. “The law requires it and it does give us an opportunity to see how folks perform in public as well.”

The job, which pays between $140,000 and $170,000, opened in May after Superintendent William Cameron announced he will be leaving for the Central Berkshire School District in Western Massachusetts. He served for four years in Salem.

Bradley will take a tour of the school district tomorrow while Russell will do so on Thursday morning before his interview.

“That will give them a chance to see the school district and interact with the existing staff during the day,” Driscoll said.

The school committee will discuss the candidates at its next meeting, either on Monday or on Aug. 29, Driscoll said. At that point, the committee will either officially pick Bradley or Russell. A third option would be to name an interim superintendent.

“Time is of the essence,” Driscoll said. “We are trying to fill this slot in a timely manner. We need to see where everybody is at in terms of the committee member. We need a strong majority. We’re just trying to close out this process.”


Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com

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