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New London — The committee tasked with choosing the city's next superintendent of schools has made its decision and its preferred candidate is expected to sit for an interview with state Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor later this week.
Board of Education President Margaret Mary Curtin said Tuesday night the committee had narrowed its field of five finalists and is preparing to formally offer its preferred candidate the job.
"If this person is approved, I think the board and the city will be very pleased," she said.
As a condition of the state's involvement in the city's school system, the candidate must be approved at the state level before the city Board of Education can vote to make the hire official.
State-appointed Special Master Steven J. Adamowski said he has been "significantly involved" in the search process since the search committee selected its finalists, and has interviewed and vetted the search committee's preferred candidate.
He said an interview for the candidate has been tentatively scheduled with Pryor for Thursday.
The state's interest, Adamowski said, is to make sure the candidate is someone who is capable of carrying out the Strategic Operating Plan the board approved last year.
Before the board hires its preferred candidate, Adamowski said, the candidate and the board will have to negotiate the final terms of a contract. The candidate might also visit New London to tour the school facilities.
The Board of Education met with its attorney in executive session Tuesday to discuss a recommended contract for the next superintendent, including salary.
Adamowski said he expects the contract will be for three years and at a salary competitive with surrounding towns.
"We're in the final stages here and this is pretty typical at this point," Adamowski said. "I'm hoping that the board, at its regular business meeting, might be in a position to appoint a superintendent."
The board is scheduled to meet June 26 for its regular business meeting, but also on June 12 for a board workshop. The board could also call a special meeting for the purpose of hiring a new superintendent.
The contract with current Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer, which the board voted 6-1 to not renew last year, expires June 30.
Even if the Board of Education does appoint the next superintendent at one of its June meetings, it is unlikely that the next superintendent will start on July 1 as was originally expected.
"My sense is that we may be looking at mid-July or August 1st," Adamowski said. "It's a matter of negotiation between the candidate and the board, and how much notice the candidate has to give on the other end."
If the new superintendent could not start by July 1, Adamowski said, the Board of Education would likely appoint someone from the current district administration to serve as acting superintendent.