Scully Suggests Rewarding His Successor With Raises Tied to Longevity

The next leader of Haverhill schools needs 10 years of experience, state certification as a superintendent, and evidence of a successful transformation project. District-level experience would be a bonus.

It’s a point on which School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. (pictured) stood firm during a discussion about the search to replace Superintendent James F. Scully, who retires at the end of this school year.

“I don’t think Haverhill can be a training ground. Experience really means a lot, especially experience on a district level rather than a building level,” Wood said.

Member Paul A. Magliocchetti, on the other hand, said a skilled and experienced principal shouldn’t be overlooked.

“I can think of a few principals who could be star superintendents,” Magliocchetti said.

In exchange for the right qualifications, the top candidate can expect to be offered somewhere between $190,000 and $215,000.

But as Scully pointed out, superintendents’ total compensation packages often exceed their salaries by tens of thousands of dollars, and can include annuities, housing allowances and travel reimbursement in addition to medical coverage.

“Obviously I want the best superintendent we can hire but I don’t want to see us go up toward $300,000 with the compensation package,” Wood said.

Scully currently earns a salary of $215,000.

Because the School Committee has put a premium on finding someone who will dedicate several years to the job, Scully suggested starting below $200,000 for a salary and building in raises based on longevity.

Member Shaun P. Toohey said it’s important for the next superintendent to be a roll-up-their-sleeves type.

“I think we need somebody who has their finger on the pulse and understands what’s going on in the classroom and all the way up,” Toohey said.

Advertising for the position soon be posted to the Mass. Association of School Committees web site. The organization is working with the city on the search.

In order to have a new superintendent by July 1, a screening committee that will include School Committee President Gail Sullivan, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, and Wood will interview semi-final candidates and select between three and five finalists to present to the entire School Committee by Jan. 25.

School Committee members will visit the finalists’ school districts during early February. Public interviews will follow, and a candidate will be chosen on Feb. 16.