SHIRLEY -- Massachusetts Association of School Committee Search Consultant Mike Gilbert announced the names of the four Ayer Shirley Regional School District superintendent candidate finalists during a brief school committee meeting Tuesday night. Current Superintendent of Schools Carl Mock's contract ends on June 30.
The MASC had screened 24 applications from candidates as far away as Kansas and Hawaii, Gilbert said, but the four finalists selected by the school district's search committee are all from Massachusetts.
The finalists are Dr. Christopher Casavant, District Business Administrator for the Gardner Public Schools; George King, Assistant Superintendent and Hale Middle School Principal for the Nashoba Regional School District; Mary Malone, Assistant Superintendent for the Haverhill Public Schools; and, Ned Pratt, Director of Pupil Personnel Services for the Leominster Public Schools.
Gilbert said that all of the candidates had been contacted and are enthusiastic about continuing in the process.
The Superintendent Search Advisory Committee, made up of administrators, teachers, parents, and community members from both towns, plus one high school student, completed the interviews of eight candidates for a new superintendent of schools on Thursday, March 6. The committee voted to send the four finalists to the school committee for their consideration. All four finalists have superintendent certification.
Superintendent Search Advisory Committee Chair Shannon Bischoff, a guidance counselor at Lura A. White Elementary School, said that the candidate finalists understood that the district was, three years in, still in its formative years, and that each had expressed excitement about its possibilities.
Shirley parent Mitch Kahn, who also served on the committee, said that he was impressed with the level of interest and understanding the candidates had with regard to the importance of marketing the district and keeping its visibility high.
Gilbert said he would immediately begin developing a site visit schedule for school committee members' visits to the candidates' school districts. Those visits will take place the week of March 17.
On March 24, the school committee will meet with Gilbert to discuss the site visits and organize its final interview questions for the candidates.
Finalists' site visits to the Ayer Shirley Regional School District and final interviews with town officials and the public will begin the week of March 25. A candidate will be selected by March 31.
Gilbert thanked the screening committee for their dedication throughout the process.
"They represented Ayer Shirley very passionately and professionally," he said.
School staff representatives on the screening committee were: central office representative Mary Beth Hamel, ASRSD assistant superintendent; building principal representative Roberta Aikey, Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School assistant principal; teacher representatives Margaret (Meg) Saucier, Page Hilltop Elementary special-education (occupational therapy) teacher, Shannon Bischoff, Lura A. White Elementary School counselor, Anne Stahl, Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School 21st century skills teacher and Peter Gubellini, Ayer-Shirley Regional High School social studies teacher.
Parent representatives on the committee were, from Page Hilltop, Allan Peterson, Ayer resident; from Lura A White, Mitch Kahn, Shirley resident; from Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School, Maureen Kilcommins, Ayer resident; and, from Ayer-Shirley Regional High School, Jennifer Martinez, Shirley resident.
Community representatives were Jonathan Deforge of Shirley and Joseph Leone of Ayer. The student representative is Ayer-Shirley Regional High School junior Megan Krueger.