DANVERS — The search to find a permanent replacement for North Shore Community College President Pat Gentile is getting underway in earnest, with the hiring of an outside consulting firm and the formation of a search committee. 

The school's Board of Trustees announced Sept. 9 that it is searching for a community member to serve on the committee, following the guidelines of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. 

The board will also be following some other guidelines: those aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, said Board of Trustees chair J.D. LaRock. 

Much of the work of the panel will take place remotely, as it did during the search for an interim president last spring. 

There may be several upsides, said LaRock in an interview on Wednesday. 

"It may hold the costs down," he said. And if the search for an interim president is any indication, the remote search will allow far more people from the college's community and the public to attend meetings during the process. 

Last spring, for example, they had 250 people on a Zoom meeting concerning the hiring of the interim president. 

Nate Bryant, a vice president at Salem State University, is serving a one-year term as interim president of the Lynn-based community college, which also has a campus in Danvers. He did not rule out seeking the job permanently in an interview in April. 

Gentile was earning $211,579 at the time she retired, according to the state payroll database. Bryant is being paid $191,900 in the position. 

The school's Board of Trustees has also hired a consultant, Ashville, North Carolina-based R.H. Perry and Associates, to assist in the search. The firm also worked with the school seven years ago during the hiring of Gentile and specializes in community colleges, said LaRock. 

“As we launch our presidential search, we’re looking forward to incorporating voices from our community,” LaRock said in a press release. “North Shore has always been deeply in touch with the priorities of our region’s employers, residents, and taxpayers. Including a community representative on the presidential search committee will help ensure that these priorities will be reflected in the choice of our next leader.”

Those who are interested in that slot have until Sept. 18 to apply. In addition, the committee will include several faculty members, representatives of the professional and support staff, a student, an administrator, a representative from the state Board of Higher Education, and three trustees. 

The trustees expect to select a finalist by late spring 2021. The Board of Higher Education would then have to approve the choice. 

Much of the work is expected to take place between January and March. 

R.H. Perry was used by Endicott College earlier this year in their search for a new provost, according to the consultant's website. The firm was also involved recently in the hiring of new presidents at Greenfield Community College and Mount Wachusett Community College. And the lead consultant on the search was a longtime administrator at Bunker Hill Community College. 

Community members interested in being selected to serve should email Dr. LaRock jlarock@northshore.edu, cc’ing mwallis@northshore.edu by Friday, Sept. 18.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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