Colorful Marketing Looks to Recruit New Pottsgrove Superintendent

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – In the search for a new Pottsgrove School District superintendent to succeed Dr. William R. Shirk Jr., whose upcoming June 30 retirement was approved last month, its school board has enlisted recruiting help from the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and set a tentative timeline that anticipates a new leader could be on the job July 1, the district reported Thursday (Jan. 7).

Pottsgrove’s marketing piece – a colorful, two-sided, graphically designed item intended to appeal to prospective candidates – focuses on the superintendent’s vacancy and details about the district. A copy of the descriptive advertisement is available at the district website, here. The job opening was first announced Dec. 21 (2020) by the intermediate unit, its companion webpage shows.

For its next chief operating officer, the Board of School Directors states it is looking for “a dynamic, collaborative, relationship-oriented individual with integrity, visionary leadership, superior communication skills, and outstanding, transparent administrative ability.”

Its desired candidate, it adds, “must possess experience in achieving high academic performance, creating academic equity, and sound school finance and business management; excellent verbal and written communication and leadership skills; experience with development and implementation of curriculum; knowledge of educational and technological best practices; and success in community engagement and involvement.

The employment application process begins online, here. The school board has set a Jan. 29 deadline for submitting applications, and tentatively anticipates conducting initial interviews Feb. 15-18. According to the district timeline, finalist interviews would be conducted March 1-4; site visits for finalists are planned March 8-12, and a selected finalist hosted visit is set for March 15-19.

Assuming the timeline is met, a school board vote approving a new superintendent might occur during its March 23 meeting.

The marketing piece addresses specific required and desired qualifications. It offers an overview of “fast facts” about the district, and maps its location within the county. It also reports the district’s strengths include “strong community support for the schools, a dedicated staff, and an active student body.” It adds “there is a high level of participation in a wide variety of co-curricular and extra curricular activities.”

It does not mention a specific salary level or range, but notes that “salary and benefits for the successful candidate will be regionally competitive and will be negotiated and determined upon proven experience, qualifications and meeting board criteria.”

The individual serving as the initial designated contact for online applicants personally knows more than enough about the district to answer most questions, should they arise. The webpage shows that’s the intermediate unit assistant executive director, and a retired Pottsgrove superintendent himself, Dr. Bradley Landis. Unit Executive Director Dr. Regina C. Speaker is identified in the marketing as the search committee consultant.

Two other district leadership positions also will be vacated June 30: those of Assistant Superintendent Dr. Robert Harney and Business Administrator David Nester. The school board plans to defer the search for their successors “to give the new super(intendent) some flexibility about his/her staffing needs/wants,” Pottsgrove Director of Co-Curricular Programs & Community Relations Gary DeRenzo explained in an e-mail.

Community comments also sought in search

The district reported it would send a letter to its various audiences Thursday at 5 p.m., asking for “community input in the selection of a new superintendent to replace Dr. Shirk.” As part of the process, the letter tells families and other recipients, “we need your assistance in identifying key leadership qualities that the community seeks in a new superintendent.”

“If you would like to provide input,” it continues, “please complete the online survey that can be found on the District’s website, (here). The survey should take you approximately 5 minutes to complete. The survey results will be presented to the Board and used to develop a comprehensive superintendent profile. The survey will be available online until 4 p.m. on January 29, 2021.”

Graphic supplied by the Pottsgrove School District