Group to aid NA leader search

    The North Adams Community Schools' board of education has enlisted the assistance of a consortium of officials from the four Indiana state universities in its search for a new superintendent of schools.
    The board on Tuesday evening voted 6-0 to utilize the services of the state's University Placement Team in finding a replacement for Superintendent Dr. Wylie Sirk, who last month announced his pending retirement, effective July 1, after 36 years in the education field — 19 of them at North Adams Community Schools.
    Board member Deb Bergman said the hiring of a new superintendent "is our major responsibility as a board." Board president Michelle Stimpson said the process needs to begin as soon as possible. "We don't want to do this (hire a superintendent) in haste, but we do need to start rapidly," Stimpson said.
    Bergman said the University Placement Team, consisting of representatives from Ball State, Indiana State, Indiana University and Purdue "will guide us through the process."
    Board member Tim Ehlerding agreed, and said the group charges only mileage and incidental expenses for its assistance.
    The board voted 6-0 to utilize the state group, and also agreed to hold a special, closed-door meeting at 7:30 p.m. on January 16 to begin the hiring process.

    In a related matter, Bergman said the superintendent search has temporarily slowed discussions surrounding a November report from the school district's Facilities Study Committee, which promoted the concept of a single campus that would have high school, middle school, and elementary school students in one location.
    Bergman said the addition of two new board members, coupled with a new superintendent that will come on board later this year, means the facilities report will be "not ignored but perhaps will be put on the back burner" for the immediate future.
    "I suggest we let the new board members come up to speed and wait until we have a new superintendent" before determining what course of action is to be taken on the committee's recommendation, Bergman said. "I think we need to wait until we get all the players in place."
    Committee members include school board members Bergman and Ben Faurote, teachers Kyle Eichenauer, Kathy Veit, and John Fox, principals Neal Rich and Scott Miller, Superintendent Sirk, transportation director Larry Carty and Kim Fullove, parents Trois Hart and Juan Gutierrez, and community representative Larry Macklin.
    Committee chairwoman Hart in November stressed that the report was preliminary and that the charge to the committee was not in coming up with how much the project, if approved, would cost.