SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Less than three weeks after the intial presentation on the search for a new superintendent, consulting firm R-Pat Solutions LLC gave Springfield residents a chance to voice their opinions and receive feedback on the matter in a public forum.

R-Pat was selected by the Springfield Board of Education (BOE), to help guide the board towards picking a replacement for current superintendent Michael Davino, who did not have his contract renewed by the board after 15 years at the helm.

Tuesday evening, Dr. Robert Rosado and Dr. James Patterson from R-Pat were in the Halsey Hall Auditorium of Jonathan Dayton High School, as part of a series of question and answer sessions, meant to help glean feedback for the company during the search phase.

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The community member session was the fourth and final one of the day. A first community session had led off at 12:30 p.m., followed by one for staff at 3:45 p.m. and district administrators at 4:15 p.m. Each session was in conjunction with a digital survey that had been sent out to parents and community members in the district by the BOE.

For Patterson, who helped to lead the discussion among the parents in attendance, the chance to speak with residents in person was extremely helpful for him and Rosado in terms of gathering information.

"It helps us greatly with the types of questions that we ask when we're screening for people and what kind of candidate we'll eventually end putting forward to the board," Patterson said. "[It's] based on what we've heard from people."

As of press time, Patterson said about 550 people had taken the survey, in addition to the 16 total residents who showed up for the in-person sessions. Additionally, Patterson said that after the feedback period closes, public involvement in the selection process will end, with the BOE taking over the process in confidentiality.

One of those 16 was Laura Schaedel. She has a daughter in fourth grade in the district, and came to speak with R-Pat in the hopes of making her voice heard, something she felt was accomplished.

"I think that the company [the board] hired, they seem well-equipped, and they've done their research," she said. "They have the data...I like that they are talking to all aspects of the community.

"They're looking at it through a whole picture. I think that is really great, because you need to see a whole picture when you're hiring somebody."

The online survey for feedback on the new superintendent search will close next Wednesday. Residents who have not done so, may fill the survey out at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Springfield-Supt-Search