READFIELD — The Regional School Unit 38 board has taken its first steps in what will be a long search to replace Superintendent Donna Wolfrom.

Wolfrom, in her sixth year of leading the Maranacook Area Schools, said last month that she was leaving at the end of the school year to become the superintendent in Cape Elizabeth. Her three-year contract there will begin July 1 and she’ll earn $135,000 per year.

The RSU 38 board agreed during its first meeting of the year Wednesday that administrators, teachers, the staff and members of the community should be involved in the process; but how involved is something that will be worked out in the next several months. A subcommittee of school board members will decide what other stakeholders will have a role in the decision-making process. Contract negotiations with the final candidate will take place with the entire board.

In an interview last month, Betty Morrell, chairwoman of the RSU 38 school board, said the district will miss Wolfrom and that the district has made a lot of progress during her tenure.

“Donna is a superintendent who holds herself and others to high standards,” Morrell said. “Her decisions are based on what is best for children, which is easy to say but harder to consistently do.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board heard a presentation from Steven Bailey, executive director of the Maine School Management Association. Bailey said the organization offers superintendent search consulting services that the district might find helpful.

Bailey said a school board must make several decisions during such a search process. It has to decide whether the outgoing superintendent should be a part of the process, whether the full board or a subcommittee will do the heavy lifting and whether people outside of the board should be involved in the decision making.

He also stressed the importance of a current job description for the superintendent and a leadership profile of the kind of person the board is looking for in the district’s next leader.

Wolfrom has been instrumental in hiring literacy and mathematics coaches for the district who work with teachers and students, providing direct support to students at every grade level, Morrell said. Working with teachers to improve instruction has led to higher test scores.

“The development of a cohesive curriculum, pre-K through 12, has been a priority,” Morrell said.

The RSU 38 board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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