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Regina Hurley Nash named interim Northampton schools chief

By unanimous vote Thursday, the School Committee approved a contract beginning July 23 with Regina Hurley Nash, who retired as Frontier superintendent last month after a dozen years in the position.

She will take over for Northampton Superintendent Brian Salzer, who is leaving the district at the end of the month to begin a new job as a school principal overseas.

Nash was selected by a four-member search committee from a pool of 16 applicants and three finalists. She will earn a per-diem rate of $455 as interim superintendent, according to the contract approved by the board.

Reached at her home in Greenfield following the school board vote, Nash, 68, said she is looking forward to the interim assignment in Northampton.

“I think it will be fun,” she said. “Brian has built a really good administrative team. I’m excited about the possibilities.”

As for the biggest challenge she will face as interim superintendent, Nash said, “It’s no different from being in any other district. You still have to get to know the people and figure out what’s going on.”

Nash has 19 years experience as a schools chief. In addition to leading the Frontier and Union districts, she served as superintendent of three public school districts in Vermont.

Nash, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Castleton State College in Vermont and a master’s in educational counseling from North Adams State College, also served as director of student services for the Fairfax County public schools in Virginia, her resume states. Her professional experience also includes stints as an assistant superintendent, principal, guidance counselor and classroom teacher.

Northampton School Committee Vice Chairman Edward Zuchowski, who was a member of the interim superintendent search panel, said Nash stood out among finalists interviewed for the post “because of her proximity to our district and her knowledge of the Northampton schools.”

Salzer — another member of the search panel — emphasized that he will be available until the end of the month to work with Nash to ensure a smooth transition.

“We have a quality interim superintendent who is excited to take this position,” Salzer told the school board. “She is prepared to stay with us for as long as it takes” to find a permanent schools chief.

Meanwhile, members of a nine-member screening committee for a permanent superintendent will be named Friday, reported School Committee member Stephanie Pick, who is leading that effort along with Zuchowski.

Pick said the district has so far received 42 requests for applications for the superintendent’s post. The search is being handled by the New England School Development Council, the same organization that recruited Salzer in 2011.

At Thursday’s meeting, which marked Salzer’s last in Northampton, board members praised his leadership of the city schools over the past two years.

“Brian is leaving the district on solid footing,” Zuchowski said. “He is an educator who has been 100 percent dedicated to his job from the very first day.”

Others cited Salzer’s role in improving relations with the school employees union and for his “calm and reassuring” presence at the helm of the city schools.

“You’ve pulled this district together in so many different ways,” Pick said. “You’ve set the stage for somebody new to come in.”

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