Above: Chairwoman Carolyn Mark discusses the superintendent search options. 

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The School Committee met Tuesday for the first time since Supt. Victor Mercurio announced his resignation and decided to put out an RFP (request for proposal) for a consultant to help with the search process.

While the panel has not voted on whether or not it will engage outside help on the search or proceed inhouse, the sentiment Tuesday was clearly in favor of hiring a search consultant. 

“There are two reasons why I’m leaning toward hiring a consultant,” said Chairwoman Carolyn Mark. “It’s important to have an objective, nonpartisan process…. [and] we have a fairly aggressive timeline.”

The cost for outside help could run anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, Mercurio said, depending on both the consultant and on the range of services. Does the School Committee just want help putting together an ad and posting it? Does the committee want help weeding through responses and participation in the interview process? School Committee members weren’t sure on Tuesday, but decided to get the ball rolling with an RFP to have options. 

The hope, according to Mark, is to hire someone before the end of the year. Mercurio’s last day is Jan. 3. 

After significant discussion about the process, parent Denise Lopez asked if there was any policy in place for hiring a new superintendent. 

Mark said there wasn’t but added, “Maybe we will be able to codify best practices.”

The fact is, it’s been more than 10 years since the district has had to hire a superintendent. 

As Committeeman Gene Quinn said, “We’re out of practice in East Greenwich.… It’s been a long time since we’ve conducted this type of search.”

The plan is for RFP responses to be back before the School Committee for the Nov. 5 meeting.