Search consultants considered by New London school board

New London - As it prepares to launch its search for a new superintendent, the Board of Education is expected to select a search committee and hire a search consultant next week.

On Monday, the board interviewed representatives from two search consulting firms: Nebraska-based McPherson & Jacobson and the search services arm of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. Both firms charge fees of roughly $16,000.

"I think this is going to be a great opportunity. I think there are people out there who say 'this is my specialty,' working with districts just like this one," said Thomas Jacobson, owner and CEO of McPherson & Jacobson. "I think we're going to find candidates who will see this as a great opportunity."

Last year, McPherson & Jacobson, which has placed more than 500 superintendents nationwide, led the search for a new superintendent in Groton. That search was the first the firm conducted in Connecticut.

Jacobson said his firm has experience working with urban districts and school systems that are under state involvement, as New London's is.

Jacqueline Jacoby, a former superintendent in Glastonbury who is now a search consultant for CABE, said she would draw on a "vast network of professionals" to find a candidate who fits the needs of New London.

"We are really interested in match making that results in districts having someone there who helps move the district forward," she said.

Both firms said they would hold meetings with school staff, students, parents and others to get the community's input on what qualities an ideal candidate should possess. They also said the board should expect the search process to take about three months.

The board is expected to name its search committee and choose a consultant at its meeting on Jan. 23.

c.young@theday.com

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