Audubon Schools Superintendent Search Continues


Members of the borough board of education are seeking public commentary as they narrow the candidate field for their next superintendent of schools.

By Matt Skoufalos | July 23, 2018

Audubon School Board Members Allison Cox (left), Marianne Brown, and Interim Superintendent Robert Goldschmidt listen to residents’ thoughts on a superintendent candidate. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

A district-wide technology plan.

Improved student study habits.

Accountability for bullying and harassment issues.

Keeping up with educational trends.

Audubon residents offered school board members these and a handful of other priorities as the district conducts its search for a new superintendent.

The board is seeking broad community input before the July 31 application deadline.

Audubon has already received 20 resumes for the position currently occupied by interim Superintendent Robert Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt, who has retired from the Washington Township and Riverside school districts, must vacate the position by July 2019 at the latest. He was hired to replace outgoing superintendent Steven Crispin, who left Audubon for West Deptford in 2017.

A notice on the Audubon schools website advertises the district’s search for a new top administrator. Credit: Audubon Schools.

Retired superintendents may earn a daily stipend in a new district for up to two years on an interim basis.

They do not receive health benefits or paid time off, but may receive pension payments while serving in an interim role.

“We want the best person for the job,” said board member Allison Cox, who envisions the right candidate will be “a total communicator, not just within the schools.”

Board member Ed Simpson said the new superintendent will collaborate with newly hired director of curriculum and instruction Shamus Burke to improve achievement numbers.

“We’ve already identified some of the soft spots we have, and we’re working on those,” Simpson said. “We want to see a new superintendent be able to pick up on where we’ve already started.”

Board member Ammie Davis said she wants “someone who has instructional background” and “who’s very visible to the entire community.”.

“You cannot be the CEO of the district without having that connection with the faculty and the students,” Davis said.

Audubon School Board Members Gina Osinski (left), Jeff Whitman, and Allison Cox discuss the hiring practices for the district superintendent. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

The job posting mandates that candidates must have a minimum of five years’ teaching experience, which board member Jim Blumenstein said “was a priority among everybody from the beginning.”

Board member Marianne Brown asked the room whether residents preferred their future superintendent to have any specific academic experience.

“Do you think a superintendent has to have experience in a K-8 district?” Brown said.

“A K-12 district? Is it ok to have certification based out of state? What about a college professor?”

Compensation is “the other piece that doesn’t come yet” in the public discussions, Goldschmidt said.

“Where’s the line?” he said. “That’s for the board to decide.”

Community feedback is as necessary to the candidate search as are the individual opinions of board members, Blumenstein said. He urged those in attendance to spread the word to their neighbors, and to send follow-up notes to the district.

“If you can’t come, write an e-mail.” Blumenstein said.

Audubon School Board Members (from left) Jim Blumenstein, Nancy Sciavo, Ed Simpson, and Ammie Davis discuss the district superintendent search. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

After Monday’s information session, the candidate search committee will solicit input from the Audubon Education Association, and then from district administrators.

The findings of those meetings will be reported to the public at its July 25 meeting.

The board will review all its resumes in August, and draw up a list of a dozen candidates.

The body will conduct initial interviews by month’s end, with a second round in September.

“If we find a viable candidate that we are all very happy with, we would most likely offer that person employment October 1,” with an anticipated start date of January 1, 2019, Blumenstein said.

If no candidate is hired, the process will begin anew in the spring of 2019.

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