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Turnover continues at top for city schools: Northampton’s interim schools chief to leave in January



Friday, November 08, 2013
NORTHAMPTON — The city is in search of an interim superintendent after Regina Hurley Nash informed the school board Friday that she intends to leave the post as of Jan. 1.

Nash, 68, a retired head of the Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts, was hired as interim superintendent for Northampton in July while a search was conducted for a permanent city schools chief. When hired as interim, there was no end date established.

The interim superintendent’s job was posted Tuesday at a salary of $9,000 to $10,000 per month for six months, from Jan. 2 to June 30, 2014. The posting was on the city website and a schools job site called Schoolspring.com.

Nash, who is overseeing the search, said her decision is a personal one. “People here have been very welcoming,” she said. “I am just revisiting my decision to retire, which I was for 21 days” before taking the interim post.

Nash emphasized that if an interim leader is not hired by her planned departure date, she would consider staying longer. “You might be stuck with me for the rest of the year,” she quipped.

Meanwhile, the effort to find a permanent superintendent for Northampton continues. Last month, the School Committee rejected three finalists identified by a search panel, voting to reopen the process in the spring.

Brian Salzer, superintendent since 2011, left the district in July for a job overseas.

School Committee Vice Chairman Edward Zuchowski said he believes the decision to reopen the search played a role in Nash’s decision to leave in January.

“Regina always said she wasn’t going to be here forever,” he said. “We had hoped this first round would have yielded a strong candidate we would have hired. Now, she was going to be extending her work in the district potentially for another school year.”

He added that Nash has earned the support of city school administrators during the four months she has served as interim head of the district.

“She’s done a great job,” Zuchowski said. “She thought she could make a difference here — and she has.”

Nash, who lives in Greenfield, has 20 years of experience as a superintendent. In addition to leading the Frontier and Union districts for a dozen years, she also served as superintendent of three public school districts in Vermont. Her professional experience also includes stints as an assistant superintendent, principal, guidance counselor and classroom teacher.

The posting for the interim superintendent says applicants must have previous superintendent experience and be certified by the state.

The School Committee will accept applications from educators who are “accomplished in strategic planning, school improvement, staff and curriculum development” and are “skilled in organization and fiscal management,” it reads.