PATERSON, NJ- The Paterson Board of Education voted in a special meeting Monday night to utilize the services of Ray & Associates, LLC. to assist in the ongoing search for a permanent superintendent.
Former superintendent Donnie Evans retired earlier this year.
At the outset of the meeting Christopher Irving, Board Chairman, announced that Eileen Shafer, who has been serving as acting superintendent since July, and has submitted her own name to fill the role permanently, recused herself from the conversation to avoid “any appearance of conflict or impropriety.”
Representatives from both Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates and Ray & Associates, LLC. were afforded twenty minutes to address the Board followed by follow up questions from the commissioners. While in terms of experience and strategy both firms offered similar points, it was, as Irving later pointed out, Ray & Associates, LLC.’s “additional experience filling these positions in other urban areas,” that ultimately put them over the top.
Speaking on behalf of the selected firm Michael Rush, Regional Director, a former assistant superintendent in Paterson, said that their goal is to “empower the Board to make the final decision.” Like in similar searches they have conducted recently for school districts in Trenton and East Orange, the firm will undertake a multi-step process that will include soliciting the board’s and community input to develop a candidate profile, advertise the position nationally through their extensive network, screen candidates, and bring them forward, at the board’s direction, for interviews.
The firm, Rush noted, would also continue to work with the board once the position is filled to insure “a smooth transition.”
The only member of the public to speak at the meeting was Corey Teague, a parent of two and self-described “education activist.” Teague offered his praise for the work Shafer has done to date in her capacity as acting superintendent, and support for the decision to bring in a search firm in the hope that the process “becomes more transparent.”
The Board of Education is expected to formally award Ray & Associates, LLC. a contract at tonight’s workshop meeting.