By MADDY VITALE
The Ocean City School Board will begin interviewing candidates as the search for a new school superintendent narrows.
Candidates will be interviewed at three extraordinary meetings of the executive session. The first two interviews will be via Zoom on March 27 and 28, both at 4 p.m., and the third will be on March 31 at 9 a.m. at the Ocean City Free Public Library.
Six school board members sit on a superintendent search committee. Additionally, the board hired Strategic Educational Advantage, or SEA, in the spring after receiving notification of the retirement of former superintendent of schools, Dr. Kathleen Taylor. Dr. Tom Baruffi is the acting superintendent.
School board member Jacqueline McAlister sits on the superintendent search committee.
She noted Friday that the board is optimistic about finding a new, highly qualified superintendent.
“We are very excited about the quality of the candidates for the position of superintendent,” said McAlister. “There were submissions from many states and diverse experiences, and each person could add something new and innovative to an already great neighborhood.”
McAlister added that ahead of interviews scheduled for Sunday, “Our search firm, SEA, screened a large number of candidates ahead of this round.”
Over the past year, to help determine which qualities were important to stakeholders, SEA held meetings with various groups of parents, teachers, students, union representatives and community members at course of the last few months.
Additionally, surveys were made available to anyone who wanted to give their opinion on what they thought was important to whoever will lead the district schools.
School Affairs Administrator Tim Kelley said in an email, “The school board continues to make progress in its search for the next Superintendent of Schools for the Ocean City School District.”
He added, “After soliciting feedback from school and community stakeholders, Strategic Educational Advantage presented a proposed superintendent profile for our district at the January school board meeting. The board is currently interviewing a strong slate of candidates for the position.
SEA representatives said at the January 26 meeting that among the important attributes people were looking for when responding to the 768 survey responses were: someone who will listen to the concerns of students, parents and staff is at the top of the priority list. Stakeholders would also like a superintendent to have expertise and knowledge of the curriculum and teaching, believe every student can excel, prioritize and be able to support a positive school climate were also high on the list.
In addition, a person who encourages the growth and success of each student and who communicates with parents, students and the community were also major qualities.