The superintendent screening committee will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, February 3rd. Westford’s current Superintendent, Bill Olsen, is retiring at the end of 2020-2021, so this leads to a new superintendent that must be chosen.
The superintendent search committee was chosen in early December 2020, and it is in charge of interviewing candidates and narrowing the selection of choices down. This committee consists of different focus groups and prospects so that everyone is listened to.
The full screening committee is required to attend all of the meetings and screenings. These screenings and meetings will be to talk to the new candidates. The committee will start with an orientation to understand what they are looking at and start to discuss possible choices. On Wednesday, February 3, the committee will meet to select the semi-finalist and discuss who will be interviewed.
In late February, the committee will interview their finalists. Each of the interviews will last one hour and all of them will be virtual due to Covid-19. After the final interview, the committee will have three to five candidates, which will be given to the school committee for the final decision.
Chris Sanders is a six-year running school committee member who has applied and been accepted onto the screening committee. Sanders is one of the two school committee members on the screening committee.
“A huge part of it is being able to communicate with, students, staff, school committee members, and the community at large. Then people like the town manager and the Select board.” Chris Sanders said.
Massachusetts Association of School committees has helped throughout the process behind the scenes. This association has handled many superintendent transitions where the current committees in Westford haven’t. The association gave the committees layouts and suggestions. That the school committee and other committees altered to fit Westford.
The committees involved should have a good idea of who will be the new superintendent by mid-march. They will then reach out to the public through forms or email about the superintendent. In March, students can take advantage of whatever opportunity they have to meet with the superintendent candidates in order to incorporate student voices.
The committees hope to have a new superintendent by July 1, 2021. This new superintendent is going to take over and try to continue Bill Olsen’s ideas or plans. Sanders hopes to have good meetings and find the correct superintendent that will hopefully last a long time in office.
“I think it’s not a worry; it’s an opportunity,” said Sanders “it’s something that I want to make sure we get right and that is finding the right candidate, finding the right superintendent for Westford public schools,” Sanders said.