The Natick Public Schools system put an interim superintendent in place earlier this year for the current school calendar, but is now ramping up efforts to hire a permanent district leader by holding a series of focus groups and a launching a survey. Natick Supt. Dr. Anna Nolin departed for a new job at the Newton Public Schools system earlier in 2023.
The NPS superintendent search will tap into the minds of not just those working for the schools in paid or elected positions, but also parents/guardians, students, and the general tax-paying public.
Parents/guardians within the school community have been notified of upcoming forums, including a Nov. 9 morning meeting (Community-Senior Center, 9am) and Nov. 13 nighttime online meeting (7pm).
The community-wide focus group will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5;30pm in Town Hall (13 E. Central St.) on the third floor. Any community member is allowed to attend this session and no RSVP is required.
Chair Dr. Shai Fuxman said during the Oct. 23 School Committee meeting that the body’s superintendent search consultant said focus groups usually have low attendance. “I want us to take that as not a prediction, but as a challenge to demonstrate that Natick can do things differently and have those focus groups well attended,” Fuxman said.
Input from the focus groups will be used by a 13-member screening committee to select candidates for the job of overseeing the school system, which for FY24 boasted about an $83M operating budget. That screening committee, expected to start meeting in mid-December, includes Matt Brand and Catherine Brunell from the School Committee, and will also include reps from other groups, including the teachers’ union, parents/guardians, the student body, central office, and the town administration.
The School Committee at its Oct. 16 meeting refined an invitation letter for superintendent candidates to submit applications. The letter pledges that the School Committee will offer “a competitive contract with a regionally competitive salary, commensurate with qualifications and experience, along with a generous benefits package.” Dr. Nolin was pulling in well over $200K by the time she finished her lengthy tenure in Natick.
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