There were 24 applicants for the position of superintendent of Old Rochester, and after the ad hoc search committee reviewed them all, three finalists were selected and presented to the Old Rochester Regional School Committee and Superintendency Union #55 during a special joint meeting on January 29.
The three finalists are: Old Rochester’s own Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Student Services Michael Nelson; current Westport Superintendent Gary Reese; and current Dartmouth Assistant Superintendent Michelle Roy.
Search Committee Chairman Rose Bowman, principal for the Mattapoisett elementary schools, made the announcement and gave a brief overview of the finalists’ qualifications and experience.
Nelson started at Old Rochester as director of student services in July 2014. His position was expanded to include assistant superintendent in October 2019 after former Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos retired at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
Nelson holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bridgewater State University, and is currently working toward his doctorate from Northeastern University.
Reese has been Westport’s superintendent since July 2018, and previously served as the superintendent for Amesbury Public Schools from August 2015 to June 2018.
Reese holds a master’s degree in special education from Fitchburg State University.
Roy has been the assistant superintendent of Dartmouth Public Schools since 2014, and previously served as the K-12 director of data and accountability for Attleboro Public Schools.
Roy received her Ph.D. from Lesley University, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Administration from Bridgewater State University.
“All [three finalists] are excited to start the next phase of the process,” said Bowman.
The school committees’ hiring and search consultant, James Hardy from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), said the next step in the process was to have scheduled site visits to each of the candidates’ current school districts for the week of February 3-7, during which any and all members of the four Old Rochester school committees may attend.
“It helps you get a little bit more in-depth perspective of the candidates,” said Hardy.
The three finalists will then be welcomed to the Old Rochester schools on three separate days during the week of February 10-14 to tour the six Old Rochester schools and acquaint themselves with the school districts.
After the February school break, the joint school committees will meet to interview the three finalists; a final vote will come on March 5.
The public interviews will be held on the same day and will be open to the public; questions from the public, however, will not be allowed.
School Committee members were asked to prepare a list of the questions they wish to ask the three finalists ahead of the interviews so that they can be combined with various questions from the public that resulted from a public survey and provided to the finalists for the interview.
The joint School Committees will meet to hold the three interviews on Saturday, February 29, beginning at 9:30 am, and two hours will be reserved for each interview.
The next joint meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee and Superintendency Union #55 is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, at 6:30 pm in the junior high school media room, during which time the members will vote for the next superintendent.
Old Rochester Regional School Committee/Superintendency Union #55
By Jean Perry