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Friday, November 7, 2008

11/07/08 "You're almost setting up shadow boards, where you have an eight-person board and an eight-person committee," Marianna Ponns Cohen says.

Is Greenwich Board Of Education Chairwoman
Nancy Weissler Setting Up A Shadow Board ?
Newly Elected Greenwich BOE Member Marianna Ponns Cohen said.
"That, to me, does not seem to work."

Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/07/2008 09:15:26 AM EST

GREENWICH - The Board of Education began its search for a new schools superintendent Thursday, but not without considerable disagreement among some members over how the process should play out.

The school board voted 7-to-1 Thursday night to form a search committee, comprised of all eight board members, that will vet candidates for schools superintendent.

Current Superintendent of Schools Betty Sternberg announced last month that she will step down from the position when her current three-year contract with Greenwich Public Schools expires in June.

To help manage the search for her successor, Chairwoman Nancy Weissler said she will appoint two board members as chairman and vice chairman of the eight-person committee to oversee the process.

The committee will first select a search firm and then seek feedback from community members and district officials on desired superintendent qualifications before interviewing the top candidates and making a recommendation for the position.

The board will then vote on its own recommendation, with the goal of having a new superintendent ready to take the reins of the school system by a target date of July 1, 2009.

But Marianna Ponns Cohen, the only board member to vote against the proposal, questioned the logic of having the full board serve on the committee......

......Two current board members - Weissler and Steven Anderson - served on that committee, which recommended Sternberg in 2005......

.....In an interview before the meeting, Ponns Cohen also raised concerns about appointing to the committee members whose four-year terms will expire in November 2009, just five months after the new superintendent is slated to take over control of the schools.

With Weissler, Moriarty, Anderson and Susan Ellis all facing re-election next fall, Ponns Cohen said she worried that newly arriving members could be unfairly saddled with a choice over which they only had partial control.

"What about the people who are new to the board?" asked Ponns Cohen. "They are the ones who are going to have to live with this decision.

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