With interim Superintendent Claudia Bach at the helm of Andover schools, the School Committee is focusing on finding a new permanent superintendent to start July 1.
In November, the school district hired Ray and Associates, a search firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to find the new permanent superintendent. The firm is currently soliciting responses to a community survey and hosting focus groups to determine the kind of person Andover wants in its next superintendent.
"It's a critical time and I would really urge all of you to encourage those constituent groups to be actively engaged," John Ramos of Ray and Associates said to school district leaders.
The search firm will host about 15 forums in upcoming weeks that invite school staff, students, parents, other town residents and business people to talk about the qualities they want in a superintendent. The survey put out by the firm will be online through Jan. 24.
The firm will use results of the public comments and survey to build a profile of what Andover wants in its superintendent, said Michael Collins, president of Ray and Associates. In February, the firm will begin recruiting candidates to fill the position, company officials said.
In March and April, the firm will sift through applications and present the best candidates for the job — about a dozen people — to the town's Superintendent Search Committee, Collins said. Once the applicant pool is narrowed further, the School Committee will publicly interview the best candidates, he said.
Collins said Andover will likely make an offer to the top candidate in April, in an effort to have a new superintendent working on July 1.
Bach will be paid $100,000 to finish out the school year through June 30, according to her contract provided by the school district officials.
She is returning to the district where she was a superintendent from 1998 to 2010. She replaces former Superintendent Shelley Burman, who resigned for personal reasons.
Bach said the biggest challenge facing Andover schools is the pandemic — keeping students and teachers safe and healthy while providing a quality education.