Proposal would change interview process for school administration posts in NashuaBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
December 13. 2017 12:09AM
NASHUA — After having to hire several new administrators in the past year, school officials are considering a new policy on how to select, interview and hire people for administrative positions in the school district.
“Based upon my experience over the last couple of months attending and observing several interviews at the director level, at the principal level and actually the assistant principal level, I observed some concerns,” said Howard Coffman, member of the Nashua Board of Education. “This proposal is an attempt to address those things.”
Some of the recommendations made in the proposed policy include requirements such as attempting to obtain at least five applicants for each of the positions, only interviewing candidates that meet state certification requirements, conducting cursory background checks on candidates’ social media sites, prohibiting subordinates from interviewing their potential boss and more.
“I think if we are going out for these higher-level, senior-type administrative positions, the district deserves to have a pool of candidates that we can select from,” Coffman told the Board of Education’s human resources committee on Monday.
Coffman acknowledged that it is often difficult to find five candidates for certain roles, especially if someone left unexpectedly and the position needed to be filled quickly.
Still, he said the district should attempt to gain at least five candidates for director-level positions such as principals and assistant principals.
“One of the things I realized with these significant openings, director level and above, these are all important administrators to the district,” he said.
The proposal also recommends that the superintendent or the superintendent's designee select an interview team, and that administrative-level peers with similar certifications should assist with the interviews.
Also included in the proposed policy is a clause that would allow at least one member of the Board of Education to have the option of moving one candidate forward in the interview process, and a separate clause providing the board with permission to request additional candidates be brought forward if they are not happy with the finalists.
David Murotake, board member, said he appreciates Coffman’s efforts with the proposed policy, but questioned the difference between transparency, oversight and micromanaging.
Sandra Ziehm, another board member, said she could not support the proposal as it is currently written. Specifically, Ziehm said she has concerns about the clause that would allow a board member to move a candidate forward in the interview process.
“I think we rule by consensus,” she said of the board. She also voiced concerns about a separate part of the proposal stating the Board of Education shall conduct assistant superintendent and superintendent recruitment, and that the interview process also be determined by the board.
“I think that is the worst possible message that we could send to our staff,” said Ziehm, explaining opinions from teachers are incredibly valuable and should be taken into consideration when recruiting for those seats.
Adam Marcoux, president of the Nashua Teachers’ Union, also expressed concerns about the proposal.
“I think some of this cuts out human resources and the superintendent altogether,” said Marcoux.
The committee has forwarded the proposal to Superintendent Jahmal Mosley, who will study the document further and provide insight to the panel before it is considered by the board’s policy committee.