The Montclair school community will get to meet some of the people who are vying for the job of schools superintendent.

The district will hold a forum with three of the candidates on Monday, Feb. 26, in the main auditorium at Montclair High School at 6:30 p.m. This will be the first time that any of the prospective candidates will have been introduced to the general public.

The three finalists were announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

The forum will include a Q&A session. Each of the schools will have boxes set up in the main offices where parents and students can drop off questions. The district also announced that it would set up a designated email address for questions as well.

But the Montclair Education Association has stated that the group is not pleased with the progression of the superintendent search, or with some aspects of the forum.

During the Feb. 7 board meeting, Tom Manos, vice chair of the MEA, criticized the district for not fully involving the district’s teachers in the superintendent search.

“I have asked at previous board meetings for the community, the MEA included, to be a part of this search,” Manos said. “Again, I state that the MEA would have liked to play an active role in the search for our new super, including the vetting and selection of candidates.”
Manos also said that the forum needed to ensure that teachers and community members would be able to ask their questions and voice their concerns. “I’m questioning how that will be achieved with questions pre-screened in advance,” he said. “This process must be transparent. Transparency builds trust.”

Board President Laura Hertzog retorted via email, saying, “The BOE has been very open every step of the way about the process that we have chosen, and we look forward to including questions from our teaching staff, as well as all our stakeholders, in the mix of questions.”

Montclair has been without a permanent superintendent since the departure of Penny MacCormack in 2015. The district has had two interim superintendents since that time: Ronald Bolandi and Barbara Pinsak.

The board hopes to have a new superintendent picked in time to officially start work on July 1. The district has been working with search firm HYA Executive Search on identifying and interviewing candidates for the job.