Superintendent Search Focus Groups to Begin This Week | New

DANVERS — Community focus groups are starting this week to help officials determine what kind of superintendent should lead schools in Danvers.

The focus groups are one of the first steps in the district’s search for a new superintendent to replace Lisa Dana, who stepped down from her longtime role this spring while on sick leave and following intense criticism over her handling of reports of racist and homophobic hazing on the high school hockey team.

School committee members Robin Doherty and Alice Campbell lead the search for a new superintendent. They announced last month that the district hopes to fill the position by January or February.

“There will be opportunities for every member (of the community) to provide feedback in one form or another, whether through a focus group, online survey, or in person,” he said. said Doherty during the committee meeting on September 12.

The first panel discussion will be for faculty and staff at Danvers High School Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. in room C213 at DHS, where families of middle and high school students can also attend a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday .

This room will host all in-person sessions of the focus groups, except for one for faculty and college staff, which will be held at Holten Richmond Middle School at 2:15 p.m. Thursday.

Families of elementary students will be able to participate in a session next Monday, October 3, at 7 p.m. A group for elementary teachers and staff will take place the same day at 3 p.m.

Danvers directors can attend a focus group at 3 p.m. on October 4.

All community members are invited to a session at 7 p.m. on October 6. Research feedback may also be provided through an online survey at

“(School committee members) won’t be in a lot of these focus group meetings because it should be objective, and we don’t want the school committee to determine what people say or influence,” Doherty said.

Each focus group will be led by a representative from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. The advisory group was hired by the Danvers School Board last month to help the district with its search.

MASC will keep the research unbiased and guide the district through a process it hasn’t been through in years, school committee chair Eric Crane said at the Sept. 12 meeting — Dana had been the superintendent for nearly 18 year.

“I can’t imagine a school board or school committee that wouldn’t work with a consultant who helps develop the profile we’re looking for…” Crane said. “It helps the district’s credibility, I think, and it helps you find the right person.”

Campbell said the search will be unbiased and a finalist will be chosen based solely on their suitability for the position.

“There is no hidden agenda. Nobody is trying to place someone in our district with political motives,” she said.

“This is based on what we are going to hear from the community and focus groups, so everyone will have the opportunity to participate in providing this type of feedback to create a job description of what we are looking for,” Campbell said.

Contact Caroline Enos at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.

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