Search for new superintendent goes online

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LEWISTON — Facebook pleas, robocalls and old-fashioned public meetings may all help the city select a new public schools superintendent.

“We are inviting people’s questions,” said Jim Handy, chairman of the Lewiston School Committee. “What kind of issues do they care about?”

Meetings for the public begin Monday, May 10.

However, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection is encouraged to check out the search page of the school’s Web site — www.lewistonpublicschools.org — or go to Facebook and type: “Lewiston Superintendent Search.”

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“This is all a new experience,” said Handy, who helped pick current Superintendent Leon Levesque 11 years ago. “It was a different world, then.”

Levesque plans to retire at the end of December. School officials hope to choose a replacement at the end of the summer.

The search took off in the past few days, as ads were placed in newspapers and in a national journal, Education Week.

On Monday, school officials opened up the Facebook page, which links back to the school’s Web site. There, people can complete a survey.

Besides leaving open spaces for questions and comments, the online document asks people to check five of 13 attributes needed in a superintendent. Among them are communication, personnel management, school finance/budgeting and leadership.

“Leon Levesque has reshaped what people would expect of a superintendent,” Handy said. Levesque does all of those things well, he said.

On Tuesday, the 21-member Search Committee led the first of nine meetings to gather information from teachers and staff.

Next Monday, the sessions will go to the public. Automated phone calls, nicknamed “robocalls,” will go out to most parents, alerting them of the meetings. Information gathered online and at the live meetings will be considered as the selection process moves into its next phase.

As candidates begin answering the ads for a superintendent, resumes will be collected and examined by the Maine School Management Association.

“We don’t want just candidates from Maine,” said Joyce Taylor Gibson, dean of Lewiston-Auburn College and co-chairwoman of the Search Committee. “We are doing a national search.”

The committee includes teachers, former teachers and Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere.

Ads for the job describe the school’s urban setting and multicultural student population. The ads had to do more than let possible applicants know the job was open, Gibson said.

“We want to get someone who is excited about Lewiston,” she said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

Schedule of public meetings to gather comments and questions on the search for a new Lewiston superintendent of schools.

Monday, May 10,  6 to 7:30 p.m., Lewiston Middle School cafeteria

Tuesday, May 11, 6 to 7:30 p.m.,  Geiger Elementary School cafeteria

Wednesday, May 12,  3:30 to 5 p.m., Longley Elementary School cafeteria

Thursday, May 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Lewiston High School, Room C102

Wednesday, May 19, 6 to 7:30 p.m.,  B-Street Community Center,  Conference Room A

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