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February 27. 2013 11:09PM

78 apply for Manchester superintendent job

MANCHESTER - The national search company charged with finding a replacement for outgoing School Superintendent Thomas J. Brennan Jr. received 78 applications - and at least 74 live outside New Hampshire.

The school board's Superintendent Search Committee will begin reviewing the 12 semi-finalists recommended by PROACT Search Monday. The committee expects to decide on three finalists March 9, Chairman Ted Rokas said Wednesday.

"They've been saying they have got some good talent and some people who are really interested in the position here in Manchester," Rokas said of PROACT Search.

Rokas has yet to see the list, but said he understands at least 40 percent of the applicants come from outside New England. At least 74 do not live in New Hampshire, said Rokas, who represents Ward 5 on the school board.

He said the only disappointment is that the district did not receive the number of applicants PROACT Search led them to expect. The job was posted from Jan. 7 to Feb. 22.

"They said they would get at least 100 candidates," Rokas said. "That's the only disappointment."

Still, he added, "Seventy-eight, I think, is a good number."

PROACT Search of Chicago, Ill. is a national company that recruits and screens candidates for school administration jobs. The school district hired the company last November to conduct a nationwide search to replace Brennan, who leaves June 30 after serving five years as superintendent of the state's largest school district.

Rokas said he will get his first glimpse today of the 12 semi-finalists. All search committee members will have the information Friday. Members also will see for the first time the entire roster of candidates.

"If one of us doesn't like someone on that list or we have questions why someone is not on the list," it will be brought up at that time, Rokas said.

He said the search committee expects to screen out four applicants Monday, then interview the remaining eight during the week via Skype. The committee expects to decide on three finalists when it meets March 9. All meetings will be closed to the public because they involve personnel matters, Rokas said.

The committee anticipates bringing in the three finalists here to tour schools and meet with teachers, parent teacher organizations, students, principals and community members the week of March 25. The plan is to schedule full interviews with school board next month, with the board voting on a candidate by April 13. The new superintendent would take over July 1.

Rokas would not comment on the salary range being advertised for the job until the finalists are selected.

The current superintendent earns an annual $165,000 salary.

The school district hired PROACT Search with $25,500 Mayor Ted Gatsas raised from private donors, Rokas said. To date, the committee has spend $20,500.

PROACT Search developed a list of characteristics to search for in a new superintendent that was developed after meeting with the teachers, principals, parents, students and the community.

kmarchocki@unionleader.com

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