NEW BEDFORD - A Superintendent Screening Committee is now in place as the New Bedford Public Schools system searches for its next chief administrator. Seven individuals with varied backgrounds in business management, school administration, and teaching have been selected to lead the search for Dr. Pia Durkin's replacement.

Mayor Jon Mitchell presented the proposed list at a special School Committee meeting Wednesday night. School Committee member Chris Cotter expressed his displeasure that the entire committee wasn't consulted on who would be on the Screening Committee.

"Other than hearing names that have been thrown out, I haven't suggested any of these," said Cotter. "That's my issue with this whole process. I honestly believe we should be hearing more from the community in general and not just from this committee."

Ultimately, the School Committee approved the members of the Screening Committee, leaving open the option to add up to two additional community representatives.

The Screening Committee is charged with vetting candidates and narrowing the field before final interviews take place. Preliminary interviews are expected to take place early in 2018.

Carney Academy principal Karen Treadup is one of the members on the Screening Committee. Treadup tells WBSM News since the district got a late start in the so-called "superintendent search season," the possibility of being without a permanent superintendent on July 1 remains.

"I was thinking that maybe they would do an interim for next year, but we'll see what kind of candidates we get," said Treadup. "We won't settle, I know that."

Treadup says her ideal candidate is an educated "people person" who has worked in urban school districts before.

Dr. Durkin announced her resignation in November. Her last full day as Superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools is June 30.

Josh Amaral is the only School Committee member on the newly created panel, and ensures the public that the screening of candidates for the position will be an open process.

"We'll try to be as transparent as possible and communicate all of this with the community, especially on the process," said Amaral. "It's also important for us to hear from the community about what they'd like to see in the next superintendent and what they'd like to see in the school department going forward."

A separate sub-committee of the School Committee was established Monday night. The sole purpose of the sub-committee is to decide if an outside search firm should be used to attract candidates to New Bedford's superintendent vacancy, and if so, which firm.

The entire School Committee will choose the next superintendent after the Screening Committee whittles the field of candidates down to a handful of finalists.

Members of the Superintendent Screening Committee

  • Barry Haskell (chair),
    • Former Superintendent of Plymouth Public Schools
    • Interim business manager under Interim New Bedford Superintendent Mike Shea
    • Senior Human Resource Management instructor at Suffolk University
  • Josh Amaral
    • New Bedford School Committee Member
  • Chris Garcia
    • Guidance Counselor at New Bedford High School
    • Vice President of the New Bedford Educators Association
  • Irma Valerius
    • Teacher at Gomes School
    • New Bedford parent
  • Isaiah Houtman
    • Math and Computer Science teacher at New Bedford High School
    • Track coach
    • Parent
  • Karen Treadup
    • Carney Academy Principal
  • Tom Kelly
    • Former board member of Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech
    • Former Superintendent of Dartmouth Public Schools