By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

The Montclair Public School District is enlisting the help of the New Jersey School Boards Association to help with the superintendent search.

On Jan. 8, the Board of Education approved the hiring of two consultants from the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA): one for the search, and one to help the district assess which issues in the schools should be given highest priority. Both consultants are to be hired at a total fee of $5,999.

NJSBA representative Janet Bamford noted that the organization has helped school districts with superintendent searches for many years. The process is tailored to the individual needs of each school district, but the process does follow several basic steps, she added.

Since the departure of then-superintendent Frank Alvarez in 2012, Montclair has had six permanent or interim superintendents which include Penny MacCormack, Clarence Hoover, Ron Bolandi, Barbara Pinsak, Kendra Johnson and Nathan Parker.

Johnson was the last permanent superintendent. She was appointed to that position in 2018 after serving as Montclair’s assistant superintendent for equity, curriculum and instruction and was the first African American woman to be named as superintendent.

Parker was named as interim superintendent in August at an annual salary of $191,984, or $921 a day based on a four-day-a-week schedule.

For the previous superintendent search in 2018, Montclair hired the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates.

The consultant will assemble a pool of candidates to present to the district for consideration, and assist the district with the interview process and next steps, Bamford said.

“NJSBA guides the process, but assures each district that the search and all decisions remain the complete prerogative of the local board of education. We like to say that we will work with districts to help them find the right fit, not merely the best available fit,” Bamford said.

The district will conduct forums on the search on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. at Charles H. Bullock School, and 7:30 p.m. at Northeast School. On Feb. 12, there will be a forum at the district’s central office on Valley Road at 10 a.m.

In the event of snow, there will be a makeup date on Feb. 26.

For strategic planning, there will be three forums in April. The findings will be released on April 22.

For residents who cannot attend in person, there will be the opportunity to ask questions and leave feedback via the district website on both the superintendent search and strategic planning.

“The search process and selection of a new district leader is very important for the future of our community and the most important job that board members undertake. Please be assured that all input from the district, students and public will be taken into account when the selection process begins. We respect the concern and commitment of our citizens and take seriously our task to make this vital appointment,” the BOE said in a statement released on Jan. 8.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story gave the incorrect date for the Feb. 12 forum at the district's central office.