By Lisa Capobianco
With the resignation of Southington School Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi, the Board of Education has announced that Assistant Superintendent Karen Smith will serve as “interim superintendent” in April.
“We have asked her to consider serving as our Interim Superintendent on April 11,” said Board of Education Chairman Brian Goralski, adding that April 11 serves as Dr. Erardi’s last day. “We are confident she will continue to guide as we have been in the past, and with her leadership and direction, and teamwork with us, we’re confident we are going to continue to do things the right way.”
“It is an honor,” responded Smith during a recent Board of Education meeting.
Also with the resignation of Dr. Erardi comes the beginning phase of the search process for a new superintendent, which Goralski calls an “in-depth” process that has begun immediately.
“We are going to get started right away,” Goralski said. “This is not a responsibility that any board member takes lightly.”
The first phase of the search involves hiring a consultant who will oversee and facilitate the process, to gather information and to screen likely candidates, ensuring that the applicants meet the needs of Southington. With the expertise of the consultant, the Board will create a further plan with how to proceed in the process.
“There is nothing more important than hiring a superintendent,” Goralski said. “We are going to do everything we can to keep in touch with the public.”
The process will also involve conducting focus groups with parents, faculty members and town leaders to create an open forum in determining the ideal qualities these members of the community would like to see in a new superintendent. In 2007, after Dr. Harvey Polansky resigned as Superintendent in Southington, the Board conducted Goralski said the search process involved speaking with nine focus groups.
Goralski said he would like to see this part of the process replicated again this time.
“The idea is to get the best representation of the public,” Goralski said. “The superintendent represents everyone.”
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By Lisa Capobianco