Superintendent Search about to Reach for Community Input

The search for a new superintendent of Bedford schools will soon involve residents.

Bedford School Committee Chair Brad Morrison said on Friday that the search subcommittee will distribute an online survey, probably before Dec. 1, “to try to gain input from the community and help shape the selection process.”

He also said, “We expect to be forming a screening committee to look at applications and identify a short list of candidates to be interviewed by the full School Committee.” He added that details will be released soon about how to apply and hopes the panel comprises “a cross-section of the community.”

“We’re going to try to do this over the next three months,” Morrison said, adding, “We are going to take the time we need in sync with the timing of the market.”

Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad announced on Oct. 25 that he will retire at the conclusion of his contract on June 30. This is Conrad’s third year in the position; his tenure began in the midst of the fourth month of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Conrad told the School Committee, “What we might be lacking in longevity, we made up for in intensity.”

At a recent meeting, Morrison said he and colleague Sarah Scoville, the immediate past chair, along with Conrad will constitute a subcommittee that will oversee the search process.

The survey responses, Morrison said, will help the subcommittee determine “what issues are important, and what kind of superintendent we want.” 

As the panel considers survey circulation, Morrison noted that although parents are the most accessible market, the subcommittee hopes to receive input from the entire town. 

The School Committee also agreed to engage the Massachusetts Association of School Committees as search consultant. Glenn Koocher, executive director, attended the Nov. 8 meeting.

The chairman said during the 2019 search, the association of school committees helped “run then process, manage behind the scenes, provide advice when necessary. They were a great resource because they are pretty well apprised about other searches in the state. They give a pretty good sense of the landscape.”

Morrison said the School Committee thanks Conrad “for his important service during a challenging time.” The superintendent, he said, is “still fully on board and actively contributing to make sure the process goes as it should.”

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