The West Hartford Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously appointed itself as the Personnel Search Committee to search for the new superintendent of schools.
Dr. Karen List announced in July that she would step down as superintendent at the end of the 2013-14 school year. She has been the superintendent for the last 4.5 years.
School board Chairman Bruce Putterman said that members of the community are encouraged to take part in the process by participating in a survey - available at www.superintendent-search.info.
The school board will also host a town hall-style meeting opportunity for members of the community to provide their input on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
"The purpose of this input is to create a hiring profile, much like we do when we hire a new principal," Putterman said. "Once we create this hiring profile, we will interview a strong internal candidate several times to assess how that candidate compares to the hiring profile we have created. If we determine the fit is good at that point, we will forgo any additional search process. If we are not as comfortable as we’d like to be with the fit at that point, we will engage in a broad, external search."
Putterman said that the merits of conducting a nationwide search was under consideration.
"Last time, we were hungering for a change. The district was doing fine, but there was no clear path into our future. And so, we were looking for a change agent," Putterman said. "This time, we have a very clear path into our future, and we are very comfortable with that path. And so, now we are placing great value on continuity."
Several school board members extolled List's contributions to the school system.
"You may be diminutive in size, but you are leaving big shoes to fill," said school board member Elin Katz. "You are one of the finest superintendents in the state, if not the country."
One member of the public, however, encouraged the school board to conduct a nationwide search.
John Joyce said that, with 16 new administrators hired in the system in the last year alone, a new superintendent from outside West Hartford is called for.