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Intermediate Unit to lead Pennridge superintendent search; community survey underway


A team of professionals from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit will assist the Pennridge School Board in finding its next superintendent.

BCIU Executive Director Mark Hoffman will lead the team, which includes the IU’s deputy executive director and in-house legal counsel, its director of human resources and its educational marketing lead. The group will identify candidates to replace Dr. David Bolton, who is currently out on medical leave and will retire Oct. 31.

Applications will be accepted through July 23, according to a news release from the district. The plan is for initial interviews to be scheduled in August 2023 and for a new superintendent to be named in early fall, according to the district.

In the meantime, assistant superintendents Dr. Kathy Scheid and Dr. Anthony Rybarczyk will share superintendent duties.

Hoffman said the BCIU is an “experienced facilitator of school executive searches. Since 2011, the agency has helped 22 Bucks County school boards find a new superintendent or technical school administrative director, he said. Both Bolton and his predecessor, Dr. Jacqueline Rattigan, were identified by the BCIU before being hired by the PSD Board.

Hoffman said the BCIU “takes seriously its commitment to provide high-quality, professional, comprehensive and ethical searches that lead to the successful appointment of district leaders.”

The opening has already been advertised nationally in a variety of publications, job boards and professional associations, said Hoffman. The BCIU will also administer an online survey to gather input from stakeholders, he said. The survey ( will close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. A summary will be shared with the school board and distributed to the community, according to Hoffman.

After agreeing to a confidentiality commitment statement, all nine members of the Pennridge Board of School Directors will have access to all applicant materials, said Hoffman. Only members of the Bucks IU team and the PSD board will have access to the confidential information of the applicants, he said.

“These confidentiality commitments limit what members of the Pennridge Board of School Directors can say about candidates during and following the entire search process,” said Hoffman.

The Bucks IU team will facilitate the creation of all interview questions, protocols, and tasks for every interview during every round of this process and assist the board in evaluating which candidates will advance to the interview process, said Hoffman. It also will organize and coordinate the logistics of scheduling and facilitating every interview during every round of this process, he said.

Members of the PSD board have been advised by the Bucks IU to not communicate directly with any applicant during this search process, said Hoffman.

“The Bucks IU team will be the sole point of contact for all applicants,” he said.

While the Bucks IU will oversee the process, it will not select which applicants advance to the interview phase, said Hoffman. “That is the responsibility of the nine members of the Pennridge Board of School Directors,” he said.

Once finalists are identified, the Bucks IU will check the references of any applicant selected to advance in the search process, and coordinate the introduction of the final candidate to the district solicitor to begin contract negotiations, said Hoffman. It will also coordinate a community forum where community members will meet and hear from the finalist and submit questions for the candidate to answer, he said.

“Of course, every school executive search is unique, and it is important to note that the Bucks IU team takes direction from the district Board of School Directors,” said Hoffman. “Ultimately, input is solicited from the Board for each step of the process, with all decisions made by the school directors themselves.”

Bolton, Pennridge’s top educator since 2018, announced in June that he was taking a month-long medical leave of absence. Two weeks later, the board announced his leave was extended to Oct. 31, when he would “voluntarily and irrevocably” retire from PSD.

The new superintendent will take the reins of a district roiled by in-fighting among board members and controversies over limits on student reading materials, transgender issues, and curriculum reviews.

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