Scully Recommends Riley Remain as Interim SPED Director

Search subcommittee member and Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey.

The Haverhill School Committee could start as early as next week’s regular meeting to interview candidates for the permanent position of director of special education (SPED).

Committee members agreed last week to wait until the Tuesday, May 24, deadline for candidates to apply for the job opening, re-posted by the district’s human resources department May 10. The decision came as Superintendent James F. Scully recommended the committee retain Interim SPED Director Kyle Riley for another year. According to Scully, Riley was not selected as a finalist for superintendent at another district near his hometown. He added, 17 other school districts are currently without a SPED director.

“He has the confidence and the ability and, certainly, will to serve in that role. But he had two offers to leave this community and go to other communities at a considerable raise. But it was just that particular superintendent seat was adjacent to his home and that’s why he was interested in that. He did not want to leave to the two communities—that are prestigious, if you will—for a much higher salary. His preference was to stay here,” Scully said.

Several, including search subcommittee member and Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey, said it was a matter of completing a process charged to the search committee and suggested officials hold “rolling interviews” as applications are received. He added he didn’t “see the harm in doing what the committee asked us to do.”

“We were charged on a subcommittee level to bring back a recommendation on what process we felt was fair, equitable and what we felt was the right thing to do. And we thought the right thing to do was to bring back two to three candidates. It may end up being that Mister Riley ends up being the gentleman who stays, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we certainly owe it to ourselves and owe it to our new committee members to follow through and go forward with the process,” Toohey said.

Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti noted Riley has been on the job for about a year, but the choice of either process or recommendation is also about “consistency at the top.”

“I do think it would be great to have someone for a three to five year period. I know we can only do three year contracts. But I think that’s also important for the parents, the children and the families out there that we have that consistency at the top. You really don’t know what the person’s about, what their capabilities are. They don’t even have time to put their structure in place in one year, you just can’t do it,” Magliocchetti said.

The discussion on the SPED director position was raised for the second time in three months by Vice President Gail M. Sullivan, who said no action was taken since a previous job posting and selection of a search committee. Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr., in addition to Toohey, also serves on that committee.

The next school committee meeting is scheduled to be held Thursday, May 26.

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