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December 11, 2012

New Castle schools: Superintendent search on hold until new year

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle Area School Board has decided to wait until January to begin its search for a new superintendent.

David DiGiammarino, unanimously elected as president at last week’s reorganizational meeting, suggested he would like to discuss how the board will proceed with the hiring at its public work session next month.

Superintendent George Gabriel announced his retirement during a special meeting Oct. 25, amid conflict over a school consolidation project.

His tenure with the district will end Jan. 31, according to a letter he gave the board that night.

Gabriel, who has been superintendent since January 2003, is receiving a salary of $142,000 this year. He has 42 years in education. His superintendent’s contract would have expired June 30.

The board has not addressed the hiring of a new superintendent since October.

At the board’s public work session Monday night, DiGiammarino looked to district solicitor Charles Sapienza for advice on how to proceed, asking whether the process needs to be done in public.

Sapienza said all the matters concerning the hiring — discussions on how the board will proceed, agreeing on a salary, how criteria and job candidates will be chosen and how interviews will be conducted — must be done in public meetings.

The individual interviews and names of the candidates should be done privately, in executive session, he said, commenting, “It should all be public except for the names.”

DiGiammarino asked the board members to send him emails regarding any ideas they have about how the hiring should transpire.

Board member Karen Humphrey pointed out that Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV has a process it follows to help school districts set up their search for a superintendent, including a list of criteria to follow in order to advertise the position.

“They have compiled a lot of data and information and they will tell us what is important,” she said.

The intermediate unit has assisted other school districts including screening the applicants and assisting with selecting finalists.

The Mohawk Area School Board took advantage of the IU IV’s services two years ago when it hired Kathleen Kwolek as its superintendent.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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