Wilton-Lyndeborough begins superintendent search anew

WILTON — While other area school districts are at the tail end of their searches for new district leaders for the next school year, the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District has been sent back to the drawing board, after the first crop of candidates were all rejected by the district’s appointed Superintendent Search Committee.

After employing the N.H. School Board Association to advertise the position, the School Board appointed a 15-member committee to oversee review of the resumes and an initial interview process.

The district gathered multiple resumes, and the committee conducted three preliminary interviews, according to School Board Chair Geoff Brock, but did not recommend any of the candidates.

The original Committee consisted of Matt Ballou and Fran Bujak of the School Board, WLC Principal Brian Bagley, Florence Rideout Elementary School Principal Ken Griffin, Leslie Browne of the WLC Budget Committee, along with some teachers and parents.

According to minutes of the School Board’s Feb. 12 meeting, “The panel was unable to come to a consensus on recommending one or more candidate for the board to interview thus the search was unsuccessful.”

The district has decided to start from scratch, said Brock. They will still retain the services of the state School Board Association to advertise the position, and will still use a community committee to select finalist for the position, he added. But the committee will be reworked before they go through a second round of candidates.

The committee will be downsized from 15 members to nine, said Brock, in an attempt to streamline the process. School Board member Matt Ballou, one of the members of the committee, was tasked with contacting the members of the committee to pare down the interested members to a smaller number. The new committee will meet again on March 7.

The district still hopes to make a decision and have a new superintendent in place by the end of June, even with the setback, said Brock. The district is currently served by Interim Superintendent Donald LaPlante, who took over the position in July to replace former superintendent Trevor Ebel. Ebel resigned in April following inquiries into alleged misappropriation of funds charged to the district’s credit card while he and other members of district staff were on professional development trips.

The N.H. School Board Association estimated a full superintendent search would cost the district more than $10,000. Brock expects even with a second phase of resume collection and interviews, the process will not exceed the initial amount estimated.

Several other area schools have been going through the same process along with Wilton-Lyndeborough. The Mascenic School District has already settled the matter, hiring Ruthann Goguen for the position on Feb. 7. She will take over as superintendent from Interim Superintendent Betsey Cox-Buteau on July 1, after fulfilling her obligations as the executive director for Hill View Montessori Charter School. ConVal School District has narrowed its final selection to two candidates. The district plans to make a decision following a final round of interviews with the candidates in front of a panel of teachers, school official and community members on March 7 .

The Wilton-Lyndeborough School Board will next convene during the District Meeting on March 8 at 7 p.m. in the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle and High School.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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