May 19, 2020 School Committee Workshop


Quincy School Committee
Workshop for Leadership Profile Development

Via Remote Technology
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law,
G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School
Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on
QATV Channel 22 or at The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast
and posted on the QPS website on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Participate in a Leadership Profile Development Workshop Conducted by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC)


Quincy School Committee Workshop ~ May 19, 2020

A School Committee Workshop on the Superintendent Search was held on May 19, 2020 at 6:00 pm via remote technology. Present were, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Doug Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico Vice Chair. Also attending were Mr.  Glenn Koocher and Ms. Kathy Kelly from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Mr. Koocher reviewed the options available to School Committee in selecting a new Superintendent  of Schools considering what the community expects and the strengths and needs of the district.

Quincy is a highly visible community, and the school district and city have a good reputation; the school district is going through transition for good reasons, there are no internal crises and very few liabilities. Since an Interim Superintendent has been appointed, School Committee can choose them to fill the position or School Committee can have a wide search and oversee the process by screening, interviewing, and managing the hiring locally. Under the law, School Committee may not meet in Executive Session for the purpose of selecting a Superintendent. One option is to establish a search committee, which will complete a confidential screening and interview process, but can contain only
three School Committee members or School Committee may decide to do the whole process in public. Mr. Koocher said that the public process can be a challenge as administrators may have left previous positions for confidential reasons or be unwilling to publicly indicate their interest as it may sour the relations with their current district.

Mr. Koocher expects there will be around 30 applicants for this position. A search committee could review all the applications and do an initial screening and recommend finalists for School Committee to interview in public. Under normal circumstances, the candidates would visit the district and meet staff and community members. Newspaper advertising is not used widely anymore; MASC maintains a list of 1400 qualified candidates. MASC can provide technical assistance to districts who want to manage their own search, at no cost. School Committees who involve the community find the search and hiring process to be publicly accepted. Mr. Koocher said that online public meetings and online
surveys have been successful in reaching the stakeholders and assisting in developing a profile and creating questions for interviewing the candidates.

Mr. Santoro thanked Mr. Koocher, asked how many candidates should be interviewed by School Committee. Mr. Koocher said hopefully 10-12 of the initial 30 candidates would be interviewed by the Screening Committee and then 3-5 candidates are interviewed by School Committee. School Committee can set parameters, for example, stating that all internal candidates or all Quincy resident candidates are interviewed. A larger pool of finalists is recommended because finalists may withdraw for a variety of reasons.

Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification, Mr. Koocher said School Committee directs the Search Committee on these parameters. Mr. Koocher said that School Committee representation on Search Committee is very important, the other members will represent their interests and School Committee must represent the system as a whole. Mrs. Lebo asked how many members on the Search Committee, Mr. Koocher said 9-11 is optimal, larger groups can be difficult to schedule.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the dates can be set in advance and members must commit before they can be part of it. Mr. Koocher said this is an effective strategy.

Mr. Gutro asked if the Search Committee is involved in developing the Leadership Profile. Mr. Koocher said the School Committee typically develops the profile, there are many common traits, such as communication, fiscal awareness, teaching and learning. Districts may have specific concerns regarding facilities or community relations and look for someone with those skills.

Mr. Gutro asked if the Search Committee typically meets 3-5 times. Mr. Koocher said orientation, developing interview questions, and interviews can usually be accomplished in that number of meetings.

Mr. Koocher said that Mr. Andronico has provided a model of the leadership profile. Some of the critical questions: should candidate have a doctorate or advanced degree (does not recommend), should they have experience in finance or curriculum; in a large district like Quincy with central office administrators, a mix of credentials might be better.

Mr. Gutro asked about the survey samples shared and asked how they were developed. Mr. Koocher said that MASC can assist with this development. Mr. Gutro asked how the survey gets shared. Mr. Koocher said the local press can assist with publicizing the survey and the district would publish on website, via email, and social media. Mr. Koocher said live focus groups are very important but many more people will participate in a survey than come out to a meeting. An electronic meeting may have wide participation. Mr. Koocher said that if MASC hosts the survey, they can filter data and share with School Committee

Mr. Gutro asked about the tabulation of the survey, can be an arduous process. Especially with open responses, these can be time-consuming. Mr. Koocher said that a combination of multiple-choice and open responses is optimal. Mr. Koocher said he has found the live responses mirror the online responses. If MASC provides technical assistance, the administration and tabulation of the survey is part of the service provided.

Mr. Andronico asked how long the typical survey is available for the public, Mr. Koocher said for a long time, sometimes until the interviews begin. Mr. Andronico asked if the survey would overlap with the focus groups and Mr. Koocher agreed. Mr. Andronico asked if districts wait until the survey data is available to finalize the leadership profile and send out the posting. Mr. Koocher said no, these would overlap.

Mrs. Lebo asked if focus groups have limits, Mr. Koocher said they are usually organized by types. For example, all teachers (with no administrators), parents, community members, students, special constituencies such as Special Education parents. Mr. Koocher said that having the survey being available in other languages can be accommodated but there is typically very little response.

Mrs. Lebo asked what technical assistance MASC would provide at no cost Mr. Koocher said creating promotional materials, hosting focus groups, hosting and tabulating survey data, collecting resumes, and disseminating the vacancy information. Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents will also publicize. Other outside consultants would do these items for a fee and participate in search committee and interview process.

Mr. Gutro asked how quickly could we move on the survey and leadership profile. Mr. Koocher said the survey could be up by Monday and the leadership profile in a week. Mr. Koocher said the leadership profile should not be controversial unless it is developed to exclude a certain candidate.

Mr. Gutro asked about recommended committee makeup, Mr. Koocher said teachers from different levels, an administrator, parents, a student, a representative from municipal side (sometimes Mayors chair the search committee), Bilingual PAC, or Special Education PAC representatives. Mr. Koocher asked who appoints the subcommittees; under School Committee Policy, the Vice Chair does. Mr. Koocher said there will typically be dominant participants and more thoughtful participants.

Mr. Andronico reviewed a draft Leadership Profile Survey that was shared with School Committee and asked for comments. Mr. Santoro feels there is an overlap between section 2 and 5, and asked for rationale. Mr. Andronico said Section 2 is an assessment of current state of QPS and Section 5 is more about the future of Quincy Public Schools. Mr. Santoro feels that Section 5 is more important.

Mrs. Lebo agreed with Mr. Santoro, but with some editing to the wording, the two sections would work.

Mr. Koocher said that Section 2 lets the community define their priorities and Section 5 sets the professional expectations. Mrs. Lebo said that labeling the sections would make the purpose more clear.

Mrs. Hubley suggested that Section 2 ask responders to select their top three or five choices rather than giving each one a number rating.

Mr. Koocher said that as a survey, the format allows for a representative score for each item. For a live meeting, you would do differently, have attendees look at a list and discuss their priorities.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mr. Andronico, excellent work in creating draft survey. Mr. Gutro asked about the order of the items, Mr. Koocher said the order does not affect the outcome. Responses are generally similar across communities, and this is where the open-ended responses are valuable.

Mr. Andronico would like to review in detail tonight, but no votes can be taken tonight. Time being of the essence, he would like to review each item and be in a position to finalize at tomorrow’s School Committee meeting.

Mr. Bregoli said he would like time to evaluate and think about this further. The school system is in a serious situation with the pandemic and there are many items for consideration. Mr. Bregoli would like to be thoughtful about the process.

Mr. Andronico said that there is a subcommittee for the Leadership Profile development but School Committee indicated they wanted to do this as a whole. School Committee can take the time needed, but would prefer not to take a month to finalize this.

Mrs. Lebo said we should use this opportunity to look at the document in front of us and move forward.

Mr. Gutro reviewed that this is not a decision on the Leadership Profile but the finalization of the survey. Mr. Gutro agreed that the survey should be available early next week.

Mr. Andronico said he would like to use this time to get as many thoughts as possible.

Mr. Koocher said particularly if there are any criteria that are really important, this is the time to bring this up.

Mr. Santoro asked for clarification, the survey is not asking the stakeholders to say what the characteristics for a superintendent are, but to choose from the list School Committee defines.

Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification, the items that are important to School Committee will assist with developing the Leadership Profile.

Mr. Koocher said they will help define the decision/hiring criteria.

Mr. Gutro said this isn’t a survey for what to put in the leadership profile, what is it a survey for? Mr. Koocher said the survey will inform the candidates and the search committee about the community priorities. Defining key leadership skills will inform the publicity materials.

Mr. Gutro asked how the survey should be defined for stakeholders. Mr. Koocher said there would be a narrative description. Focus groups will help identify for areas for growth, development, and change; each constituency will surface their priorities.

Mr. Santoro would like to add to section 5 personal characteristics: Build a positive school culture; foster a relationship with elected city officials and city departments; possess strong ethical values; be visible throughout the district and actively engaged in community life

Mr. Koocher said that those are important unique Quincy qualities.

Mrs. Lebo suggested adding: a safe and supportive multi-cultural community; social-emotional wellbeing of students; teachers’ instructional technology skills. For question 5, suggests ability to interact with students and families; understand and recognize good teaching; pursue educational equity.

Mrs. Hubley suggested that section 2 Communication with Parents should be expanded to include means of communication (phone, email, etc). In section 5, the ability to empower the Leadership Team to grow as individual contributors.

Mr. Bregoli suggested adding to demonstrate a long-term commitment to the district, Mr. Koocher agreed this is a very important priority to share immediately.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, Mr. Koocher said that it needs to be made clear to the candidates that this is not a three-year commitment for someone who will commute a long way and not be part of the community.

For Question 1, Mr. Andronico said that some of the options can be broken down further. Mrs. Lebo agreed that Employee category should specify teaching or administrative. Mr. Andonico said “all of the above” could be an option. Mr. Santoro said there are other employee categories, so Mr. Andonico suggested administrative support.

Mrs. Hubley said the option should be “parent or guardian”

Mr. Andronico asked about Question 3 and Question 4, any suggested edits? Mrs. Lebo suggested reversing the order of the questions, the positive question should be first.

Mr. Andronico asked about Question 6, Mr. Koocher said this has been valuable in past searches.

Mr. Santoro said that during his tenure as Quincy High School Principal, the Superintendent was instrumental in resolving several public safety issues and so would like to present the candidates with a scenario for them to respond to. Mr. Santoro will hold this for the interviews.

Mr. Andronico asked about Question 7, Mr. Gutro asked for Mr. Koocher’s input. Mr. Koocher said that Question 7 is likely to be one of the most informative because it gives participants the option to mention anything not raised in the earlier questions.

Mr. Gutro asked how MASC will help with the open-ended questions.

Mr. Koocher said there will be a summary provided and all of the data submitted to School
Committee. The data can be provided on a rolling basis.

Mr. Andronico suggested discussing next steps, including Wednesday’s Special School Committee meeting. Mr. Andronico will compile the comments from tonight and send a revised draft to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting. Mr. Andronico asked School Committee to review and be prepared to discuss and vote to move forward. Once the survey is approved, Mr. Andronico will work with Mr. Koocher and Ms. Kelly to get the survey ready for posting.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification, the goal from tomorrow’s meeting is to finalize the survey, not the Leadership Profile.

Mrs. Lebo said we didn’t resolve the issue about ranking system, selecting top five or ranking of all items.

Mr. Andronico prefers ranking of all items, Mr. Bregoli prefers selecting top five items, Mr. Gutro had no preference, Mrs. Hubley top five items, Mr. Santoro prefers ranking of all items, Mrs. Lebo prefers ranking of all items. Mr. Andronico returned to Mr. Gutro, he is leaning towards ranking of all items.

Mr. Andronico thanked Mr. Koocher and Ms. Kelly for their assistance.

Mrs. Hubley made a motion to adjourn the School Committee workshop at 7:45 pm. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gutro and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.