BRSU hires consultant for superintendent search

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MANCHESTER — The Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union board has hired a consultant and established a screening committee to help it pick a successor to Superintendent Jackie Wilson, who announced her retirement this summer and will vacate the position in June.

The six board members who attended a special meeting Tuesday night approved an $8,500 contract with the Vermont School Boards Association, which BRSU board Chairman Jim Salsgiver described as the organization's standard price for this type of service and "a pretty good deal."

The VSBA will facilitate the screening committee's meetings and organize the search process, according to a copy of the contract included in board members' packets.

The screening committee, made up of community members, administrators,

teachers, and other employees from throughout the supervisory union, which includes a dozen towns divided into three districts, will advertise the superintendent position, receive and review applications, conduct interviews and choose up to three finalists for the BRSU board to interview.

One of the committee's first tasks will involve finalizing a prospectus and job posting already developed by a separate committee composed of seven school district board members. The prospectus provides an overview of the supervisory union, including descriptions of its "unusual" arrangement for high school students — BRSU districts do not operate high schools and instead essentially pay to send students to schools of their choice — and recent mergers of its school districts pursuant to Vermont's Act 46.

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The prospectus directs candidates, as part of their letters of interest, to answer a question about their educational philosophy and leadership style, and to identify their "best skill and the skill that is the biggest challenge for you."

Thirteen people have agreed to serve on the screening committee: David Paarlberg-Kvam, an art teacher at the Dorset School; Deb Fishwick, principal at Manchester Elementary and Middle School; Neal McIntyrwe, principal at Flood Brook School; Carolyn Parillo, principal at Currier Memorial School; Kelly Ahlfeld, school librarian at Mettawee Community School; Jenn Turner, principal at Sunderland Elementary School; Jon Wilson, of Manchester; Susan Hosley, of Pawlet; Ben Freeman, a Taconic and Green Regional School District board member; Skyler LaBombard, director of teaching and learning at BRSU; Celeste Keel, administrative assistant to the superintendent at BRSU; Jennifer Samuelson, a Winhall School District board member; and Jim Salsgiver, a BRSU and Taconic & Green board member.

Susan Holson, VSBA's director of education services, who attended Tuesday's meeting at Manchester Elementary Middle School, suggested that the committee aim to conduct interviews in early December and identify finalists around January.

Screening committee meetings will be warned and open to the public, but members will review and discuss candidate materials in executive session, according to a document outlining its responsibilities that the BRSU board approved at the Tuesday meeting.

The committee will hold its first meeting at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 28, at Manchester Elementary Middle School.

Contact Luke Nathan at


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