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TOWNSEND — Dr. Louis Amadio, Search Director for the Merrimack Education Center (MEC) and former superintendent of schools in Leominster, conducted a focus group on Monday for parents interested in assisting the search for a superintendent for the North Middlesex Regional School District. Current Superintendent James McCormick will retire in June 2006.

Parents were given the opportunity to list what qualities they would like to see in the new superintendent.

“We will list the skills and characteristics you find important, and what immediate, as well as long-term, priorities you see as critical,” Amadio said.

Janet Bohling would like to see someone with regional experience.

Jennifer Traverso is interested in someone “with current knowledge of scientific research. Another thing that I want is someone that can do more with the accelerated students, as well as those that struggle. I think the district does a great job with the average students, but we need more for the others.”

Tricia Urbanowski wants someone who “has a genuine interest in arts and athletics, (and) encourages new student programs. There are many students that excel in arts and athletics.”

Debbie Koble is looking for a good communicator who feels a new curriculum is important.

Debbie Wheeler wants the new superintendent to be able “to encourage new ideas from the teachers and administrators. The other thing is where we have multiple schools, the person should spend time in all of the schools getting to know them all.”

Amadio will make a chart of the comments to review with the School Committee.

“These are all good ideas. It seems all of the superintendent searches I’ve been involved with, all parents are looking for the same things,” he said.

Amadio invited any parents that want to be on the search committee to forward their names in.

Amadio is aiming for a Feb. 13 date to select the search committee.

“If you want to be on the committee, you must be able and willing to commit to four nights over a two week period for workshops and interviews of the semi finalist superintendent candidates. All four meetings must be attended,” he said. The meetings are slated to begin on March 15.

MEC will do the preliminary screening of all applicants, which will reduce the list to approximately 8 to ten candidates. Those finalists will then be interviewed by the search committee, who will forward three to five finalists to the School Committee.

The target date for the final vote for a new superintendent is April 10.

“This time line gives the School Committee time to look over the candidates. Also, it gives the prospective candidate the opportunity to give his or her current employment a 60- to 90-day notice,” Amadio said.

Any parent interested in applying to serve on the search committee can forward their name to Nancy Landry in the superintendent’s office for consideration.