KP District Launches Superintendent Search

Grace Allen
Strategic Planning Survey Seeks Input from Community
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

The King Philip Regional School Committee has hired an outside firm as it prepares to search for a new superintendent of schools. The district hopes to have a new leader in place by next summer.
The Massachusetts Associa-tion of School Committees (MASC) will lead a series of roundtable discussions to gather input from the community before launching a nationwide search for the new superintendent.
In conjunction with the search, the KP School Committee is conducting a strategic planning survey. Residents of the district, not just parents of King Philip students, are encouraged to take the short survey and give input on a new superintendent, as well as goals for the school system.
The survey is available until December 7 at
According to KP School Committee Chair Patrick Francomano, a search com-mittee comprised of parents, school administrators, com-munity representatives, and school committee members, will begin screening potential candidates after the MASC recruitment process.
The search committee will conduct preliminary interviews with potential candidates before recommending the finalists. The KP School Committee will then conduct interviews with the finalists in open session, and may conduct site visits to the candidates’ school districts.
“We’re looking for somebody that’s going to be innovative and can work collaboratively with the staff, the community, and municipal government,” explained Francomano.
The current superintendent, Dr. Elizabeth Zielinski, has led the system since 2010, and has been a semi-finalist for several superintendent positions in western Massachusetts. Her contract is up in June.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Liz,” said Francomano. “The district has advanced under her leadership.”
Francomano hopes to have a healthy amount of quality candidates to choose from, but acknowledges the inherent difficulties in leading a regional school system.
“Our situation as a regional secondary system is very challenging, especially given that you have individual elementary districts,” he said. “It creates a very stressful and challenging dynamic, especially in terms of budget, fiscal management, and education programming.”
In May, WBUR, the NPR Boston affiliate, reported that Massachusetts schools are struggling with a shortage of qualified superintendent candidates to fill open positions. Early retirement incentives, increased public scrutiny, and educational budget issues have contributed to the dearth of applicants.
According to the report, most superintendents in Massachusetts stay in a school system for 5 to 7 years before moving on.
“We would be concerned if we did not get a healthy pool of candidates,” said Francomano. “If in fact we don’t have a series of what we consider a sufficient number of candidates, then we may have to go back to the drawing board.”
Francomano adds that the school committee is not opposed to an internal candidate for the superintendent’s job.
“Nothing is off the table. Everyone is welcome to apply if they meet the qualifications,” he said.