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Boston School Committee To Begin Search For New Superintendent

BOSTON — One of the biggest tasks facing the next mayor of Boston will be choosing a new school superintendent to replace Carol Johnson, who retired last month.

John McDonough, the school department’s chief financial officer, will hold the post temporarily as the search for a permanent replacement is expected to take months.

“I can’t imagine that a superintendent would come to Boston until he or she knew who the next mayor was going to be,” said Kim Janey, the senior project director of Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino agreed.

“We’re going to start the process very shortly and if we get it done by the time I leave, good,” Menino said. “But I believe it’ll take nine months at least to get a new superintendent in Boston.”

By then, Menino will be out of office. The final choice will be the new mayor’s, he says.

“First of all, the mayor has final say in who the superintendent will be. So the new mayor, whoever he or she may be, will have a decision,” he said, adding that it’s “way too early” to expect a list of potential candidates. The School Committee is just beginning the preliminary work.

“The School Committee and myself set up a process and then in the final analysis, the final candidates are presented to the new mayor and then they’ll make that decision,” Menino explained.

But Janey says that could pose a problem.

“I would think that the next mayor who will be elected in November would want to really weigh in on this process, and that includes hiring a search firm, selecting members for a search committee and defining a community engagement process,” she said. “Because this is probably one of the most important, if not the most important posts or appointment that the mayor will have to make.”

And it’s one of the most important issues in the race for mayor. At least one of the 12 candidates says the search process shouldn’t begin until after a new mayor is elected.

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