Consultant on FH's Superintendent Search: It's All in the Process

Leadership Advantage's Richard Morasco, a former Fair Haven interim superintendent, explains why the search process is important. Do you agree? Weigh in.

Go ahead. Ask Leadership Advantage's Richard Morasco why the Fair Haven School District invested the time and money in a superintendent search that only led officials right back their own turf with the appointment of Knollwood School Principal Nelson Ribon.

The consultant who conducted the months' long search for a new superintendent will tell you, as he told the Board of Education and public last week, that it's the process that matters most, not the fact that the search ended right behind the district's own doors.

And Morasco knows the district well. "It's like home" to him, he said. Morasco was interim superintendent in the district before present superintendent Kathleen Cronin was hired.

A former superintendent in Monroe Township, Middlesex County, Morasco has a 40-year career in education under his belt. Since his retirement, he has served as interim superintendent in Fair Haven and Princeton Regional school districts and has been on faculty at Monmouth University, among other things.

With Leadership, he has said he's been involved in roughly 70 superintendent searches. His fee for the Fair Haven superintendent search was not disclosed by him.

"People ask why would you need a consultant when you hired from within?" he asked at the April 24 board meeting when Ribon was appointed. "The process is just as, if not more, important than the result."

Morasco pointed to a forum that was held for residents, parents and any interested parties, to weigh in on the search. A handful of people attended.

Many at the meeting expressed a desire to consolidate districts between Rumson and Fair Haven to save administrative money. That, Morasco said, is a process that would take years, if, and only if, it passed muster with state feasibility studies and voters sanctioned it.

There were surveys conducted as well as other public gauging methods used in the superintenent search as well. In the end, Morasco said, the pool of candidates was whittled down to nine, including principals, assistant superintendents and superintendents from other districts. Then, he said, there were three interview tiers.

The board's final choice was in the Knollwood principal's office — Ribon.

There will be no consultant hired to help conduct a search for Ribon's replacement, Cronin had said. The district has posted the position since Ribon was chosen as superintendent and officials expect to have someone in the spot for the start of the new school year.

Hear what Morasco had to say about the process in the above video clip. Do you agree? Or do you think using a consultant is a waste of community resources and money?


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