Groton search yields seven superintendent applicants

Groton - Seven people have applied for the superintendent's job in Groton, and the executive search firm will recommend either interviewing finalists or searching again, depending on how the pool looks, a consultant said Friday.

Sharon Cox, a representative of McPherson & Jacobson LLC, the firm assisting with the search, said the group will review applications and check references extensively before bringing forward two or three finalists to the Board of Education to interview.

Cox said, "If the pool is insufficient," the group will suggest the board reopen the application to draw more candidates. Cox said she has not worked in Connecticut before so she does not know whether the number of applicants is low.

"It's a little less than is typical in other states," she said.

In 2008, when former Superintendent Paul Kadri was hired, the board used CABE Search Services, and consultants screened dozens of potential candidates before presenting six to the board.

School board member Chaz Zezulka said the board is expected to meet in closed session on Aug. 26. Applicants' names are being kept confidential because candidates may be working elsewhere.

Board member Robert Peruzzotti said the board wants to fill the post, but it also must be cautious, given its past experience.

"Whoever this poor person is, they're probably going to get grilled," he said of the finalists interviewed.

Kadri was fired in March after an arbitrator concluded Kadri violated board policy "by threatening, bullying and humiliating subordinates." Kadri has maintained he did nothing wrong and has filed complaints with two state agencies.

Interim Superintendent Sean McKenna took over the post on July 1. He is the fourth person to serve as acting superintendent since Kadri was placed on administrative leave in May 2012.

The board does have some breathing room. McKenna may remain in the job through June 30, 2014, according to a letter from State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

McKenna previously served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. He holds a provisional educator certificate for intermediate administration and supervision.

The board had hoped to announce its choice for superintendent on Sept. 30.

"That is what the goal is. But is the goal maybe not going to be reached? I don't know," Zezulka said.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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