The search firm that helped hire Superintendent Fred Clarke last year will help the school district find his replacement at no charge, school board president Jennifer Berwick announced Monday night.
The news came at the end of a 15-minute Board of Education meeting that Clarke did not attend. He was with Grant Public Schools on the west side of the state.
Clarke in an email message to Rochester parents last week.
He has not resigned. However, because his intentions are clear, the Board of Education is moving forward in finding his replacement, Berwick said. On Monday night Berwick and board members Lisa Nowak and Jane Pierobon agreed to form a Transition Committee. The committee will work with Clarke on a timeline for him to finish up his duties in Rochester. The committee will also work to appoint an interim superintendent and, eventually, a superintendent search team.
Berwick has been in touch with School Exec Connect, the search firm hired to help the board replace retiring Superintendent Dave Pruneau last year.
The firm's base fee was $19,500. The agreement with School Exec Connect dated Dec. 4, 2010, states that a new search will be conducted at no cost to the board if the superintendent resigns or is dismissed within 12 months of starting.
Clarke started work for the district July 1, 2011. Berwick said on Monday that School Exec Connect, based in Illinois, "has indicated they will honor that provision with reasonable latitude beyond the 12-month deadline."
The district would still pay School Exec Connect the cost of expenses and of advertising the position; those fees were projected at between $7,000 and $9,000.
Berwick said she is confident that the leaders in the school district —including the principals, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting — would continue to carry on the tradition of excellence in Rochester Schools.
"We will have a strong start to the year," Berwick said. "There are many exciting things happening."