EMPLOYMENT OF PRINCIPAL
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 71: Section 59B states that “The superintendent of a school district shall appoint principals for each public school within the district at levels of compensation determined in accordance with policies established by the school committee. Principals employed under this section shall be the educational administrators and managers of their schools and shall supervise the operation and management of their schools and school property, subject to the supervision and direction of the superintendent.” Consistent with state statute, the Principal for the Shutesbury School District shall be hired by the Superintendent to serve as the educational administrator and manager of Shutesbury Elementary School.
General Eligibility Through its employment policies, the Shutesbury School District will strive to attract, secure, and hold the highest qualified personnel for all professional positions. The selection process for a Principal will focus on hiring the candidates who is the best qualified for the position and assisting that person in reaching high levels of achievement. The District's goal is to employ and retain personnel who are skilled, knowledgeable, motivated, positive in approach, possess a strong work ethic and are committed to develop a dynamic learning environment. Diversity and Equal Opportunity The Shutesbury School District is an equal opportunity employer. The School Committee believes that the quality of instruction and overall experience of students is enhanced by a staff with a wide variation in background, educational preparation, and previous experience; diversity in background, educational preparation, and experience is encouraged. There will be no discrimination in the hiring process due to age, sex, creed, race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or place of residence.
Process The Shutesbury School Committee endorses a 1995 Massachusetts DOE Advisory that recommends that “consistent with the need for open communication between superintendents and school committees, it is good management practice for the superintendent to keep the school committee informed about appointments and other personnel decisions. Regardless of who makes the actual appointment, the hiring authority should consult with other key parties in the process.” The Advisory encourages “superintendents to use a selection and interview process that is open to the community when hiring principals and others for positions that are particularly significant. For certain administrative positions of major importance, an open meeting of the school committee could be an appropriate forum for public interviews of the finalists.” Consistent with this Advisory, the hiring process for a Principal in the Shutesbury School District shall seek to be open and will be designed to maximize engagement between the Superintendent and the community, staff and School Committee.
The following are elements that must be included in the Superintendent’s hiring of a Principal to the Shutesbury School District.
1. Applications: All applications for a Principal in the Shutesbury School District must include a criminal background check form/authorization (CORI) and a list of references, which are due prior to an interview. Applications will be received and screened by the Superintendent’s office.
2. Screening: Applications are screened for basic eligibility and credentials by the Review committee and the Superintendent or his/her designee.
3. Review: After an initial screening of candidate applications by the Review committee and the Superintendent (or his/her designee) to ensure that candidates meet the basic eligibility (based on a published job description) applications will be reviewed by a the Review Committee whose members will be selected to provide expertise and/or breadth of perspective regarding the position. The Review Committee shall include at least one person from each of the following: Shutesbury Elementary School staff person, Shutesbury School Committee, Shutesbury School Council member, parent/guardian of a Shutesbury Elementary student, and Central office designee. Additional members of the Review
Committee may be added by the Superintendent. If the School Committee has voted that the Shutesbury School district is a non-school choice district, only people who live or work in the district shall be members of the Review Committee No more than two representatives from the Central office that serves Shutesbury, excluding the Superintendent, shall participate on the Review Committee. The review will be based upon the job description, and qualifications identified by the Superintendent in consultation with the Review Committee and with guidance from the School Committee.
4. Interviews: There shall be at least three rounds of interviews for Principal applicants.
The first round of interviews shall be conducted by the Review Committee. Applicants invited for interviews with the Review Committee will be contacted by the Superintendent’s office. Following the interviews, the Review Committee will provide comments and recommendations to the Superintendent or his/her designee. The School Committee strongly encourages that no more than 4 candidates will be forwarded for consideration in Round Two. The Superintendent or his/her designee will conduct reference checks of preferred candidates.
The second round of interviews shall be a Public Forum for those applicants recommended to the Superintendent. The applicants will make a presentation at an open public meeting and shall participate in a Question and Answer session with members of the audience. The combined duration for each applicant (presentation and question and answers) shall be not less than 30 minutes. The Public Forum shall be noticed through the school newsletter and the Town Clerk not less than seven days prior to the event. The School Committee strongly suggests that the Public Forum be held at a time convenient to parents, guardians and community members – in the evening or weekend is recommended. Unless there is a compelling logistical reason, all applicants should present on the same day to ensure maximum participation by parents, guardians and community members and to enable comparison of the candidates.
As part of the interview process, the School Committee encourages the final group of candidates to visit the school and spend time in an informal question and answer session with the staff.
The third round shall be conducted by the Superintendent. It is the Superintendent’s prerogative to include “experts” of his/her choosing in this round of interviews.
5. Superintendent Decision: Based on information from the Review Committee interviews, the Public Forum, School Committee and staff comments, if sought, reference and criminal background checks, and other sources, the Superintendent will select a single candidate for the vacancy. Consistent with MGL Ch. 71, Sec. 41, the School Committee must approve all compensation and benefits prior to them being offered to the applicant by the Superintendent. The School Committee encourages discussion about the final recommended candidate between the Superintendent and School Committee prior to the position being offered. The Superintendent shall make the final hiring decision.
6. Appointment: The successful candidate will be offered a salary and contract by the Superintendent in consultation consistent with District policies. The Superintendent’s office will initiate hiring paperwork. Notice of Appointment for successful candidates will be sent from the Superintendent’s Office with an employment packet from the Superintendent or his/her designee affirming the offer of position and related salary and benefits. This employment packet shall be sent within one week of the candidate’s acceptance of the position.
Unsuccessful applicants who have been interviewed will be notified of their status by the Superintendent’s office in a reasonable time following appointment of the successful candidate.
7. Orientation: The Superintendent will arrange for the orientation process for a newly hired Principal.
Salary and Contract According to MGL Chapter 71; Section 41, the Principal for the Shutesbury School District “shall not be represented in collective bargaining, but every principal shall have the opportunity to meet and discuss individually the terms and conditions of his employment in his school district with such district’s superintendent and may be represented by an attorney or other representative.”
Additionally the statute indicates that, “School principals shall enter into individual employment contracts with their employing districts concerning the terms and conditions of employment. The initial contract with each individual school district shall be for not less than 1 year nor more than 3 years. The second and subsequent contracts shall be for not less than 3 nor more than 5 years unless: (i) said contract is a 1 year contract based on the failure of the superintendent to notify the principal of the proposed nonrenewal of his contract pursuant to this section; or (ii) both parties agree to a shorter term of employment. … Failure of the superintendent to notify a principal of the proposed nonrenewal of his contract at least sixty days prior to the expiration date of such contract shall automatically renew the contract for an additional one year period.”
As a condition of employment, each Principal must maintain current certification, adhere to the policies and goals of the School Committee and the directives of the Superintendent, and annually before April 1 must submit, with the school council, the educational goals and school improvement plan for the school building(s) under his/her direction.
Amended and FINAL: 02-11-14 School Committee Reviewed and approved as amended 04-16-15