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Region 9 To Begin Superintendent Interviews

The Easton, Redding and Region 9 Boards of Education gave an update Tuesday night on the search for a new superintendent of schools amid raised voices, a few off-the-cuff comments and an accusation of “going rogue.” The evening's contentious behavior arose over disagreements on hiring a consultant to review school board and central office procedures and practices.

“It can get a little contentious, it can get a little heated,” said Region 9 board member Chris Hocker. “At the end the day we manage to work together most of the time.”

The boards voted to approve the funds to hire Evan Pitkoff as a consultant to the Structure and Ways of Working Committee. He will study the three boards and school administration offices and offer suggestions to better streamline operating processes.

Region 9 Chairman Mark Lewis said the committee had “gone rogue” by taking its recommendation to the three boards for a vote without first presenting its candidate and contract proposal to the full board. Other members disapproved of hiring a consultant to review policies before a new superintendent is hired who might have policy changes of his or her own.

The Region 9 board voted 4-2 against the measure. However, the Easton and Redding boards both approved it unanimously, and the measure carried.

After tempers cooled, the superintendent update was delivered. Preliminary interviews will begin Saturday for candidates to replace Michael Cicchetti as superintendent of schools for Easton and Redding. Board members said at a special meeting Tuesday they have at least six solid candidates. The Easton Board of Education, the Redding Board of Education and the Region 9 Board of Education each will have a chance to interview the candidates. A second round of interviews is set for April 2.

Cicchetti announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2010-11 school year, in November. He has worked in education in the state for 35 years.

During public comments after the verbal sparring, Mike D'Agostino compared the boards to the Hatfields and McCoys. “When I was a boy my mother would lock us in out room and tell us to 'work it out,'” he said to the board members. “Just work it out, you know?”

Do you think the boards should have waited to approve a consultant?

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