Superintendent finalists to be named

NASHUA – The names of four finalists for the superintendent position will be announced Friday.

Members of the Board of Education were presented with the finalists that were recommended by a 16-member interview committee in a nonpublic session at a meeting Tuesday night.

The committee interviewed the remaining semifinalists earlier in the day and narrowed down the candidates to the final four, said Associate Superintendent Ed Hendry.

The interview committee was made up of district staff and members from the community.

The announcement of the names of the four finalists will be held in the rotunda of Nashua High School South 4 p.m. Friday. The event will be open to the public.

The current superintendent, Christopher Hottel, announced in January that he would be taking the same position in the North Andover, Mass., school system. Hottel will be staying on until the end of June.

Hendry, who facilitated the interview process, said he is pleased with the quality of the remaining candidates.

“They all knew the importance of the position,” Hendry said, speaking of the applicants. “Overall, the process was very well done.”

Eighteen people applied for the superintendent position, according to the central office. The Board of Education narrowed down the applicants to 10, and then the process was handed over to the interview committee.

Board of Education member Jack Kelley said he wanted to make sure the finalists were going to be made aware their names would become public Friday.

“The phone is going to start ringing as soon as their name is announced,” Kelley said.

Hendry said the district would be preparing the finalists for their names to be revealed.

The new superintendent will make no more than Hottel, who is earning $150,000 this year. The Board of Education has already set a salary range of $135,000 to $150,000.

The public announcement of a small group of finalists for a superintendent position is common practice but was not done during the city’s last superintendent search.

In 2005, the Board of Education kept the names of the finalists a secret and only announced the name of the person they intended to hire, Julia Earl, after The Telegraph learned of her identity.

Less than a year after being hired, the board placed Earl on paid administrative leave as it conducted an investigation into her use of public money for travel.

Eight months later, the board reached a $250,000 settlement with Earl to end her contract and not release the results of its investigation.

The board immediately hired Hottel, acting superintendent at the time, as the district’s permanent superintendent.

For this search, the Board of Education opted to take a do-it-yourself approach, going without the assistance of a search firm.

After the finalists are named, various groups, including teachers, students and general members of the public, will have opportunities to meet the finalists and ask them questions.

The forums are scheduled for May 18, but the times and places haven’t yet been scheduled.

Board of Education member Charlie Katsohis, chairman of the board’s search committee, said decisions still have to be made on how and when to conduct site visits and financial and criminal background checks.

The board has set a date of May 26 to announce the new superintendent.