, Gloucester, MA

May 5, 2010

Manchester Essex names new superintendent finalists

By Brendan Connolly
Staff Writer

For the second time this spring, the Manchester Essex Regional School Committee has zeroed in on three finalists in its search for the school district's next superintendent.

The second round of three finalists were named at the School Committee meeting on Tuesday night for the position of superintendent.

The new three finalists are:

Joan Landers, superintendent of the Wakefield School District.

Pam Beaudoin, director of curriculum and technology of the North Reading Public School District.

Bonny Gifford, principal of Hastings Middle School in Fairhaven.

Manchester Essex School Committee Chairman Susan Coviello said her panel plans to appoint a candidate to the position and for the chosen candidate to start July 1.

The committee is seeking a successor to retiring superintendent Marcia O'Neil, who announced last year should would be leaving her post at the end of the school year.

The original search initially began accepting applications Jan. 4, and that panel whittled some 25 candidates down to three finalists.

But two of those accepted positions in other districts; Marc Kerble accepted a position with the Newburyport school district the night before the Manchester Essex public interview in March. And Michael Cozort accepted a position with the Nantucket school district last week. The committee opted not hire to the third finalist, Thomas Gwin, principal at Winchester High School.

After the first interview for prospective replacements, the School Committee decided to reopen the search and dissolve the first Search Committee.

The second eight-member search committee, assembled in early April, is also comprised of community members, parents, a teacher and an administrator. And they were responsible for reviewing and choosing on the new finalists for the position.

The highest paid superintendent on Cape Ann in 2009, O'Neil was making $169,983. But the School Committee is targeting the salary for her successor at between $130,000 to $155,000, though $175,000 has been budgeted for the post for the coming school year, Coviello has said.

Brendan Connolly can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3447, or