BoE Names Superintendent Search Firm

The Board of Education announced its selection of a search firm to help the Wilton Public Schools find a replacement for outgoing superintendent of schools, Dr. Gary Richards. They have retained Hazzard, Young, Attea and Associates, a consulting firm that they said “specializes in assisting school boards with the recruitment of candidates for superintendent.”

Richards announced his retirement shortly before the start of the 2013-2014 school year, with an effective ending date of Dec. 31, 2013.

At last night’s BoE meeting, Hazard, Young senior associate John Chambers–himself a former school superintendent–presented his firm’s capabilities, experience and search process to the board and acknowledged the challenge of finding a successor to a superintendent whom he said is as respected as Gary Richards is, both in the Wilton school district and around the state.

Both Chambers as well as board members have emphasized the desire for public input. Chambers listed his email address “as a signal that we are very interested in feedback throughout the whole [superintendent search] process as well as less formal.”

Chambers said that Hazard, Young has over 25 years of experience in school search and placement, and is the largest educational search firm.

They have already created an online survey which may be accessed from any of the schools websites or the district site ( and have asked parents to take it and provide their help in identifying characteristics they would like to see in the new superintendent, as well as provide feedback on the district.  The survey will close on November 1, 2013.

In addition, they have scheduled two public forums to solicit feedback:  a Community Forum on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at Middlebrook School Auditorium; and a Parent Forum on Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m. at Trackside.

Noted during the meeting was, “the extensive community outreach they will be doing to the students, the staff, parents, the teachers, the unions and the general public. We’re very pleased with how things worked out,” Gil Bray, BoE vice chair said, of the selection of Hazard, Young as the recruiter.

Chambers added that most usually, “the best candidates do not always come through a search [utilizing job listings] through the application process. In fact our experience is that more often than not the eventually successful candidate, especially in a district with high expectations like Wilton is, is someone who did not initially apply, but rather came to the search through our recruitment.”

He added that he and his fellow associate, Deborah Raizes, interview every candidate that goes before the search committee board.