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April 17. 2013 10:43PM

Nashua board debates assistant superintendent's salary


CREBASE 
NASHUA - Despite voting Wednesday night to unanimously approve Superintendent Mark Conrad's recommendation that Main Dunstable Assistant Principal Karen Crebase be hired as the district's new assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, the Board of Education strongly disagreed as to what her salary should be.

After much discussion, attempts by some board members to reduce Crebase's recommended salary of $105,000 by $10,000 failed.

"I cant wait to get started," Crebase said. "I am really looking forward to working with Mr. Conrad and the rest of the central office to bring the district forward."

While discussing Crebase's salary, board member Dennis Ryder said, "The lady is very impressive, but totally inexperienced."

Ryder said that based upon her lack of experience, a salary of $95,000 for a probationary year would be appropriate.

"These salaries come at the expense of our children," board member Sandra Ziehm said.

Board member Kimberly Muise said the notion of a probationary period for Crebase was insulting to her, and that if other board members feel she is so inexperienced they should have never agreed to hire her in the first place.

Board member William Mosher called some board members attempts to reduce Crebase's recommended salary and give her a probationary period ludicrous and that it would never happen in the private sector.

Board President Robert Hallowell took the board to task for failing to come together to create a salary scale, and said that board members arguing that Crebase should receive a lower salary due to her lack of experience were making a confusing argument.

"Are you saying we would have paid the other candidates with more experience more money if we hired them? That makes me scratch my head," Hallowell said.

Board member Steven Haas said $95,000 would make Crebase one of the lowest paid assistant superintendents in the state, while Nashua's school district is one of the largest in the state. "It would be a slap in the face," Haas said.

The salary of the position was also discussed during the meeting's public comment section of the meeting, as resident Karen Thoman asked the board why Crebase was getting a raise for her new position in relation to her previous job, saying it might make sense to not give her more money until she has proven herself capable.

Hallowell responded that she was not getting a raise, she was leaving an old position for a new position, and that her salary would be in line with salaries for assistant superintendents around the state.

The position became available when current Assistant Superintendent Althea Sheaff announced earlier this year she would be retiring at the conclusion of the current school year.

"We had a good hiring process, and we had three strong candidates interview for the job, but I believe (Crebase's) strong background in curriculum and instruction can bring teachers along to where we need them to be," Conrad said.

Along with Crebase, Ledge Street Elementary School Principal Janet Valeri and Raymond School District elementary school Principal Daniel LeGallo were finalists for the position. Crebase said she was informed confidentially shortly after her public interview that she would be Conrad's recommendation to the board.

Crebase went on to say that her first priority as assistant superintendent, which is her first central office position, would be to examine curriculum in relation to the soon-to-be-implemented Common Core standards.

"We will be looking at instructional changes," Crebase said.

Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Seusing said Crebase's resume, which includes a graduate degree from Harvard University and time spent teaching at an inner-city Houston, Texas, school, was very impressive.

"She had everything we were looking for," Seusing said.

Conrad agreed, saying, "I think she will bring a real strong perspective to the district office."

While excited to take on a new challenge, Crebase said she is sad to leave Main Dunstable, as she had gotten very comfortable with both the school's staff and students.

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