Board takes steps to replace Hottel

NASHUA – The search for the Nashua School District’s next leader began in earnest Wednesday night when the Board of Education began making preliminary decisions about how to find its next superintendent.

The board decided to invite two consultant groups and the state commissioner of education to a meeting to learn more about how to run a superintendent search.

The board voted unanimously to invite the New England School Development Council and the New Hampshire School Boards’ Association to visit and tell the school board how they can help run the search.

Some board members indicated they weren’t excited about the $10,000 or so it would take to hire those firms but members still wanted to hear from them.

The board will also invite state Education Commissioner Lyonel Tracy to pick his brain about what attributes they should be looking for in superintendent candidates.

The search for the district’s third superintendent in four years was necessitated when Superintendent Christopher Hottel resigned earlier this month.

Hottel, 62, accepted the superintendent position in North Andover, Mass., on Jan. 8. The same day, he submitted his resignation to Tom Vaughan, president of the school board, effective June 30.

Hottel makes a salary of $150,000 in Nashua and will make $165,000 in North Andover.

The board also decided not to name an interim superintendent and delay the search until next year. Board members talked about the possibility of needing an interim leader if they can’t hire someone permanent in time.

The board also briefly began talking about the membership of a search committee that would handle the beginning stages of the search, including advertising, collecting and reviewing resumes and initial interviews.

No decisions on the committee’s makeup were made, and none was made concerning how involved the public would be in the hiring process. Some board members indicated they wanted residents to have a chance to meet finalists before a hiring decision was made.

The last time the school board conducted a superintendent search was in 2005. The board hired Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, a firm based out of Chicago, to aid with the search.

In 2005, the entire superintendent search, which took roughly 5-1/2 months, cost $35,000 and resulted in the board hiring Julia Earl. A year later, Earl was placed on paid administrative leave and was eventually bought out of her contract.

Hottel replaced Earl in June 2006 as the acting superintendent.

When Hottel was officially given the superintendent position in February 2007, no search was conducted.