Southeastern delays hunt for superintendent until spring

“We all want to get the best person available,” said Southeastern Local Schools board member Rick Burton about the district’s need for a new superintendent.

In November, John A. Abdella notified the board of his intent to retire. He served as Southeastern’s superintendent for the last year-and-a-half. His retirement became effective on Jan. 1.

Due to the timing of Abdella’s departure, Burton said the board decided to delay its search for a permanent replacement.

“Right now, you’re not going to have a lot of people apply for superintendent jobs because they’re already employed. They don’t know until early spring usually if they’re staying where they’re at,” he said.

So, the board is taking a three-step approach to filling the superintendent’s seat. First, they called on Stacia A. Smith, Ph.D., superintendent of the Clark County Educational Service Center, to take care of immediate business that only a certified superinten-dent can do. She starts on Jan. 5, the day students and teachers return to school from winter break.

“Stacia helped us with the (superintendent) hiring process the last time. She agreed that serving as our superintendent temporarily is part of the services the Educational Service Center offers,” Burton said.

Smith will help the district until an interim superintendent is hired. The board posted the interim job opening on Dec. 8 and is accepting applications. This set-up will give the board time to conduct a thorough search for Abdella’s permanent replacement.

Abdella worked in the education field for 35 years. In a message to the community posted on the district’s Web site, Abdella states, “We work all of our lives to get to the point where we have an opportunity to retire and look forward to the many things we’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. What I’ve discovered is that when you get there, it’s not as easy of a decision to make as you expected, especially when you work with such great people.” In the message, he praises Southeastern’s students and staff and the community of South Charleston as a whole.

The board has not set a deadline for hiring the new superintendent. The board will discuss the search process further at its Jan. 13 meeting, which will start at 6:30 p.m. and include the board’s annual organizational meeting and budget hearing.

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