Manchester School Board Rejects All Finalists for Superintendent

Search  Committee Chairman Says City Shouldn’t Settle

MANCHESTER, NH  March 27, 2012 3 PM–  Ward 5 School Committeeman Ted Rokas, Chairman of the Superintendent Search Committee announced to day that all finalists for the superintendent’s position had been rejected by the Board of School Committee, a possibility that Girard at Large reported on last night.

It turns out that our reporting was accurate.  While the Board of School Committee took no action specifically rejecting any of the three finalists, their decision to continue with the search process makes it clear that none was able to convince the board that they were “the man for the job.”

Search Committee Chairman Ted Rokas, in a written statement praised the finalists as “competent,” saying they “brought something new and different to the table.”  However, the board was unable to come to a consensus in choosing a candidate.

In an interview with Girard at Large, School Board Vice Chairman David Gelinas said the public should take the board’s action as an indication that it’s taking the matter “very seriously.”  He echoed Rokas’ statement asserting that filling the position was of the utmost importance to the schools and the city, a position echoed by Mayor Gatsas since pushing the board to undertake a national search with a professional search firm.  

We were all there to vote on a candidate and the candidate hasn’t arrived yet.  We’re looking for the very best for Manchester and I don’t think we’ve seen that, yet.” said Gelinas.  “The board is looking for the absolute best fit for the district,” he continued.  As to why none of the finalists fit that description,  Gelinas spoke only in general terms, indicating that the board would likely have been more comfortable with a candidate from larger district with more diversity.

Seventy eight candidates from across the country applied for the position.  Gelinas said he was unaware of any candidate that withdrew due to compensation concerns and noted the city lost applicants that may have been a good fit for the position to districts due to timeline issues. He said he was “very pleased with the work the search committee did” and noted that renewing the process to find additional applicants shouldn’t take as long as the last process because the board has already received input from various stakeholder groups and the general public.

Continuing the search will not cost the city any additional funds as the search firm is obligated to continue the process until a suitable candidate is hired.  Gelinas said the Search  Committee he appointed, which includes Roger Beauchamp from Ward 12, Arthur Beaudry from Ward 9, Erika Connors from Ward 8, and Deb Langton from Ward 2 will remain active.  Rokas, who hails from Ward 5, will continue to chair the committee.

Below is the announcement from Chairman Rokas regarding last night’s decision.

For immediate contact:
Ted Rokas, Chairman
Superintendent Search Committee

Statement from Superintendent Search Committee Chairman Ted Rokas:

“With regards to the Manchester School District’s search for a new
Superintendent, the Board of School Committee will continue to search for
Dr. Brennan’s replacement. Last evening the Board met with the finalists
and we were unable to gather consensus. At this point, we are going to
revisit our position paper, review the feedback from the various community
groups and stakeholders, and start over.

The Board of School Committee, as a whole, has come to a common
understanding that this is the most important position in this city. We
are committed to the process and committed to getting it right. Simply
put, we are unwilling to settle for anything less than the very best. We
will work with the search firm the committee has engaged to find the right
fit for the District.

I would like to state publicly that all of the gentlemen we interviewed
were competent and brought something new and different to the table. This
decision is by no means a reflection on them personally.”