Acting Supt. Durkin
Acting Supt. Durkin

LOWELL -- Acting Superintendent of Schools Jeannine Durkin has announced she will not pursue the permanent role later this year, less than a week after several School Committee members praised her work and weighed whether they should pursue a full-scale search for the position.

Durkin informed her staff Wednesday that she will not be a candidate for superintendent, Mayor Bill Samaras said Wednesday.

She will remain as acting superintendent through June 30.

Durkin did not immediately respond to a telephone message left on her cellphone Wednesday afternoon.

"We're losing a very good candidate," the mayor said about Durkin. "She has stepped up to the plate, worked very hard, and done more than a commendable job putting the budget back together."

The School Department has faced a budget shortfall in the wake of financial management errors in the previous administration led by former Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui.

Moving forward, the city will launch a search for a superintendent. Samaras expects the position to be posted in the next month.

"We have to move quick on this," he said.

Samaras added that he's seeking community input on the search. He plans to create a superintendent search commission with community leaders, School Department officials and parents.

The city is seeking an experienced education leader who understands finance and will work collaboratively with the School Committee, the mayor said.

"We're asking for a lot," he said.


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"We're a very large school system and have a lot of needs."

The Citywide Family Council plans to briefly discuss a few priorities for what they would like to see in this search process during their upcoming meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Cardinal O'Connell School.

On Monday, the Personnel Subcommittee is expected to meet to discuss and seek feedback on the process of hiring a permanent superintendent. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Butler School auditorium.

Reporter Elizabeth Dobbins contributed to this report. Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.