James Scannell, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction and a former school board trustee, has been named the next superintendent of Baldwin schools. The announcement was made last Friday by the Baldwin Board of Education, and the appointment will take effect July 1.
In materials announcing the decision, the board wrote that “Scannell is a long-time community resident, volunteer and district employee. His record of service in the Baldwin School District is impeccable, and the board has great confidence in his ability to lead the district in these difficult times.”
In describing their search for a superintendent to replace Dr. James Mapes, who will retire on June 30, board trustees said they issued a request for proposals through their legal council, to various “firms that specialize in recruiting superintendents and other education executives.”
Eventually, however, trustees came to feel that the right candidate was already seated beside them at meetings: James Scannell. (Scannell’s brother, Joseph, is the county legislator for the 5th District.)
The board’s statement said it queried its lawyers and the search firms it employed about the possibility of handing the superintendent’s job to an insider, and found the consultants amenable to the idea. “Upon reviewing all of this information from these various internal and external sources over the course of a number of weeks,” the statement read, “the board members all agreed that the person who fulfilled all of the qualifications that we sought in a superintendent was already a member of the Baldwin family.”
The statement went on to say, “We were advised by counsel and by the search firms themselves that if we had a strong internal candidate(s) for the position, it was entirely permissible to forgo an external search and move to appoint that person. After approaching Mr. Scannell to determine if he was interested in the position, the board conducted a formal interview with Mr. Scannell that served to confirm to the board that he was the desired candidate to replace Dr. Mapes.”