Montclair Superintendent Candidate Kasun Dropped Out In February

Montclair Schools Business Administrator Emidio D’Andrea with superintendent candidate Ross Kasun

Montclair Schools held a forum in February to introduce the public to three candidates that were named as finalists in the Superintendent Search. But apparently the BOE was not close to making a final decision.

Superintendent candidate, Ross Kasun, superintendent of the Freehold school system, tells Baristanet he dropped out of consideration the day after the February forum after learning from the search firm that the BOE would not be ready to make a decision any time soon.

“I was told the board needed to take some time to make its decision,” says Kasun, adding that no date was given as to when a decision on the finalists might occur.

With no answer in sight, Kasun did not want to leave his own district on hold and had to drop out.

“I had a great visit to the Montclair schools and the students were spectacular,” says Kasun, who said he was surprised when he was told the process had no clear end date.

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  1. Uh-oh….Something smells here. The Board announced publicly they were going to make a decision by the end of March. Why then would their search firm tell one of the leading 3 candidates the day after his pubic presentation (and the one voted best Superintendent in the state) that Montclair wasn’t really ready to make a decision yet? It makes no sense. Were the other two candidates told the same thing?

    Because to decide this month, the Board was going to have to vote on their final choice tomorrow, at their March 28th meeting. So who told the search firm to say this to Kasun back in February? Why even hold a candidates presentation then if they weren’t ready to, or couldn’t lock this up? Because the result was to get this very qualified guy to drop out of the picture.

    Anyway you look at it..something appears wrong.

  2. Definitely. Why wasn’t this revealed transparently at one of their last meetings before in March? Someone on the Board clearly announced they would make a hiring decision this month, so what…someone else told their search firm in February to lie and tell just this one candidate that there was no decision coming? No date? Why? What were the other two candidates told? It appears some kind of fix is going on behind the scenes. But to what end and by who? And for who? It’s a seven member Board. Someone knows something.

  3. It seems like it would be very difficult to get an “outside” candidate under these constraints. Didn’t this search process start many months ago? Can the search process be shortened in some way?

    I think Kasun was the best candidate and would be a breath of fresh air for the district. But I feared that the “inside” candidate was going to be preferred, because that seems like the way things are done in Montclair. I hope we can have some sort of businesslike approach to filling this very important position, but I don’t know how that can happen now. And we wonder why things don’t change…

  4. Not sure about the conspiracy theories! There are always those who suspect and those who accept. We need to accept the fact that none of the candidate were the right fit. Thank you board for making the decision before we were stuck with someone who was not up to the task. Makes no difference of gender, race, color or creed, although some might disagree. What matters is to get the most qualified, experienced, and capable individual that is out there! As long as the new superintendent supports the basic principles of teaching upward toward excellence, as the priority, and not this constant cry for teaching down to the unteachables, our system will be restored to the best as opposed all the rest!

  5. The BoE has to pick from the remaining candidates. Otherwise, what is the point of having finalists?

    Yes, it is possible the BoE majority favored Kasun and will not make an offer now to the others. If so, then the process they elected to follow was silly charade.

    An issue was brought up during the insider & public survey process to profile the ideal candidate. That input then was that the BoE’s relative inexperienced would impact the selection. To avoid this coming back on them – or being perceived as ceding their independence to the Mayor – they will most likely pick one of the remaining two.

  6. … “they will most likely pick from one of the remaining two”…

    Frank Rubacky you’re not seeing it. Someone, or some group within this Board tried to sabotage Mr. Kassun as a candidate. If he was wanted by some, others clearly undermined him. Whoever controls, or talked to the search firm somehow got them to tell Kassun a falsehood. That there would be no decision for awhile and worse, there was not even a time-line for decision. He said this directly.

    But that’s the exact opposite what the public was told as part of the candidates forum — that a decision would be made soon, by the end of March. Clearly, Mr. Kassun wouldn’t have dropped out if he knew the board’s selection would be made in less than a month. So the question is, since there appears to have been no formal board vote on the finalists, who instructed this search firm to convey that distortion, which got Kassun to drop? And what did the search firm tell the other two candidates? If they talked to the other candidates and one of them dropped out too before any formal board vote, then spotontarget is right — there’s a fix. 100%. But by who? And for who?

    Why wasn’t it revealed Mr. Kassun dropped out two days after his public presentation? There’ve been two or three BOE meetings since. Nothing was said. Who on the Board controls their search firm?

    Board of Education members were supposed to vote today, Wednesday on their Superintendent selection. If they’re not voting now, why even have that candidates forum at the end of February? Why tell applicants they’re one of three finalists and get them to appear in public, if the Board really wasn’t going to make a decision after? Like I said Rubacky, something smells here. Badly.

  7. I had suggested here at the beginning of March that Mr Kasun would drop out so I’m not surprised. He went through the process for reasons only he knows and then exited with a plausible reason that wouldn’t offend anyone.

    The rest is just the usual MPS hijinks.

  8. Supposing one of the other two candidates also dropped after the public meeting? For the same seemingly false timing reason communicated to them as Mr. Kasun. Would you agree then Mr. Rubacky that without an official, or even unofficial decision to announce the BOE was starting negotiations with someone else – and no public statement about any other candidate pulling out before the board actually voted (since they said they always intended to decide this month) — that something really does appear off?

  9. Of course something is “off”. The rational of the BoE/MPS have always been a bottle of two short of a six-pack. We found out about the Board member leaving from Barsitanet. Hiring a superintendent was the BoE’s biggest initiative and we have to learn from Baristanet that a candidate dropped out a month ago. I wonder now if the Mayor was aware of this when he made his remarks on the candidates earlier this month. I wonder when the search sub-committee knew. I wonder why the plan was to lallygag for 30 days after the forum to announce their choice. I wonder who the new Board President will because the someone has to own this. Do I wonder whether the stakeholders dysfunction can be overcome. Nope.

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