Last Thursday evening, the Mt. Greylock Transition Committee voted 4-3 in favor of opening up the job of superintendent up to the community. Several factors were cited in the decision, none of them having to do with the performance of Kimberley Grady, the current interim superintendent. Rather, the four members of the committee that voted in favor of posting the position wanted to follow through on their previous decision to search for a different candidate after the busy issue of district regionalization was cleared up. Additionally, some members insisted that opening up the position involves more community interaction and therefore would be more democratic.
Instead of a longer, more complicated possible hiring process, the committee decided to open up an “expedited search.” The members of the Transition Committee will also be the members of this search committee.
The decision of the Transition Committee was not exactly what Mount Greylock students were hoping for. In the week leading up to the meeting, seniors Morgan Pannesco, Jacob Hane (senior class president), and Josh Duncan (Student Council president) visited lunch tables during the school day, seeking signatures for a petition to instate Grady as permanent superintendent, with the goal of getting enough signatures to influence the Transition Committee’s decision. For a few days, they visited different groups of students, told them what they were trying to do, and clearly persuaded many, for by the end, the three had gathered almost 350 names.
Duncan explained that he and other students that had seen Grady’s impact on the district were extremely impressed, which was part of the motivation for pursuing her appointment to the job. According to Duncan, “during [the eighteen months in which she has served as interim superintendent], she’s picked up the pieces of our administration after previous superintendents have come and gone. Grady has done a really good job at pulling our school together, not only by unifying the student body but also by working really hard at issues like regionalization, so she’s unified the district as well.”
Duncan and others believed that “the cumbersome process of hiring” was something to be avoided with such a qualified interim superintendent. He noted that “there is a cost that comes along with searching, and so when we have a perfectly capable superintendent that has served for the past eighteen months, proved her worth and done plenty for our community, I don’t see the value… there are a lot of factors to consider when looking at this kind of decision, however I think that the benefits outweigh the downsides.”
On Friday morning, members of the Mount Greylock community received an email from Ms. MacDonald, containing the news of the committee’s decision, which included a special statement from the chair of the committee. Included in the statement was the Transition Committee’s belief that “Kimberley Grady … has admirably led (and will continue to lead) our three districts.” The message also explained that when Grady was previously appointed, “the committees and the Interim Superintendent were not thinking of the interim appointment as ‘a step toward’ a permanent position.”
While the Transition Committee didn’t offer Grady the job on Thursday, they voted 7-0 in favor of including in the job posting the idea that there was already “strong internal candidate,” and, according to the committee chair, Grady will still plan to submit an applicatication for the job.