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Connecticut Association of Boards of Education

Letters of Reference

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The following comments are what our clients have said about our services. 

 "On behalf of the Somers Board of Education, I would like to extend our gratitude for the tremendous work you performed on behalf of our district in hiring a new superintendent, curriculum director and co-principal. We are fortunate to have worked with someone of your caliber.

You were hired during a very difficult period for the school district however; you brought with you a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, humor, dedication, persistence and professionalism.  The structure, support and insight you provided during this process instilled a strong sense of commitment among the committee members. We appreciate the many hours you spent getting to know our community and involving all the stakeholders in this very important process. You quickly recognized the needs of our community.

I would enthusiastically and without hesitation recommend you highly to any school district involved in a search."

Terri S. Henderson
Somers Board of Education

 "When I think back to our first meeting and all the obstacles facing us, I can't help but appreciate your optimistic attitude and your special talents for making good things happen. I know we will not require your services for many, many years this Superintendent is a perfect fit for us, but I also know that our Board would recommend you to any one and everyone who is involved in a search process. There is no doubt that we gave you a run for your money. You not only had to work with a divided Board, but you had to deal with a highly-charged community, an interim with an agenda and a political environment that could defeat even the most talented agents.

Yet, you were able to find your way through the maze, remain a guiding light and inspire us to attain our goal. With your open and honest approach, you won the confidence of the Board and the candidates you put forth. Personally, I believe you knew from the beginning of your quest, you had found us a winner. I am especially grateful that you encouraged the Board to continue the interview process after the first set of interviews when there was clearly a favorite. Going through the second set of interviews not only cemented our first choice, but also enable the candidate and Board Members to bond together individually and collectively. How wise you were!

In the not-too-distant future, when this candidate and the Board have successfully conquered all their challenging issues; and parents, educators and community members all rave about that wonderful school system in the northwest corner of the state; you can feel proud to know that you were the catalyst that brought credibility and growth to the Winchester Public Schools."

Rose MacDonald
Winchester Public Schools

"On behalf of the Amity Regional School District No. 5, I want to thank you for assisting us in our search for a high school principal.

Once again you exhibited a keen sense of what Amity needed and used your incredible skill and professionalism to make it happen.

We are extremely grateful."

John J. Brady, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Amity Regional School District No. 5

"On behalf of the Bolton Board of Education, please accept our thanks for your work on our Superintendent search. From the beginning, the course was clear, concise, and always professional.

Staff and community members have commented on the inclusive and informative process and have expressed their appreciation. The BOE, likewise, was impressed with your thorough and timely work and great attention to detail and communication.

As we look forward to the tenure of our new Superintendent, we are grateful for your leadership and expertise. Thank you so very much!"

Karen Bergin
Chair, Bolton Board of Education

"In today's world where integrity and honesty are many times lost commodities, it was reassuring and refreshing to work with such a highly qualified CABE employee, Eliza Holcomb.

Throughout the entire month-long journey, I found Eliza to be the consummate professional, true to her word, and accountable to both her client and applicant.  She consistently answered all of my questions based solely on her best information.  The process she has developed and implemented is one that is fair, easily understood, and respects the complexities of sitting superintendents applying in another district.

Please accept this letter as a tribute to Eliza and to your organization as being the best of the best."

Joseph V. Erardi Jr., Ed.D.

"We are writing to let you know how pleased we are at the professionalism, level of service, and passionate commitment to achieving the best possible result that was demonstrated throughout our recent superintendent search process by CABE Search Services, and in particular, by Eliza Holcomb, it's Senior Search Consultant.

Finally, one final benefit of working with Eliza is that our board came together to work more closely and harmoniously as a result of the search process.  Simply put, we are a better board of education today than we were at the start of our superintendent search.  This is why we decided to sign this unequivocal letter of recommendation individually.  Thank you Eliza, you have our sincere appreciation for a job exceptionally well done."

The Berlin Board of Education

"In sum, I would like to commend CABE for providing its search services group to boards of education, and in particular I would like to commend Ms. Holcomb for the outstanding service she rendered to the Amity Board of Education.  I believe we have turned a corner in a positive direction, with the hiring of an outstanding superintendent."

William T. Blake, Jr.
Chairman of the Personnel Committee
Amity Regional Board of Education

"CABE Search Services through Deborah Raizes and primarily Eliza Holcomb did an excellent job of helping the New London Public Schools pick a new Superintendent of Schools in the fall of 2003.  Their job was made more difficult by the abrupt departure of the controversial former superintendent.

As President of the Board of Education and Chair of the Search Committee, I relied heavily on Deborah and Eliza.  Eliza always returned my calls promptly if I was unable to reach her on the first try on her cell phone.  This occurred no matter how many times or at what time of the day I called her.

Even though the search had to be fast tracked, CABE did extensive work to develop the leadership profile of what the community wanted in its next superintendent.  They interviewed candidates from around the country, recruited a Connecticut candidate that we eventually hired and narrowed the field to six qualified candidates.  The Board was very impressed with the caliber of the candidates presented.

CABE facilitated four days of local and away site visits.  This included a public presentation of the two finalists.  At the final selection Eliza and Deborah answered questions when asked and assisted the Board in coming to a good choice, but never tried to dictate our selection.

CABE Search Services offered a very competitive fee, was extremely professional and knowledgeable and brought us very qualified candidates.  I would highly recommend them."

Walter C. Watson
New London Board of Education

"From the moment we met her she took a personal interest in our search.  It was important to her to know us and our communities.  She laid out a detailed plan as to how we should conduct the search but also was open to our ideas and made adjustments along the way.  She involved all of our constituent groups and helped us to develop a leadership profile and, incidentally, a marketing tool which we can use in the future.

She recruited vigorously and continuously and, although there was not a plethora of candidates out there interested in our position, she presented us with three excellent candidates, any of whom could have done the job.  She gave us advice to guide us through the interviews and kept us from making any gaffes.

Eliza became a mentor for the Board chair with frequent communications.  She made calls on weekends or from the West Coast to inform or make sure everything was on track.  She worked closely with me to make sure that one of my chief goals, to have a unanimous vote, was met.

Eliza has a ready smile and conducts her business with a sense of humor.  We could not be more pleased with the work she did."

Steven A. Sedlack
The W. L. Gilbert School Corporation

"During the many weeks of the actual CABE search, consultants maintained close contact with me and the entire Screening Committee and were always prepared to meet with us as request or as they perceived the need.  We received a steady flow of information in the form of search progress reports that continually reassured us throughout these weeks that the search process was on track.

As a result of CABE's meticulously organized and conducted search, we received an outstanding field of applicants.  CABE consultants spent hours checking candidate references and additional days in candidate interviews to ensure the best possible applicants for preliminary interviews with the BOE's Screening Committee.  Recommended candidates were presented by CABE consultants to the Screening Committee with detailed background material and reference checks that included open and objective critiques of both candidate strengths and any possible areas of concern.

Following three days of preliminary interviews, we selected the three best candidates in our collective judgment for a day each in the school district organized by CABE following consultation with the Screening Committee to afford our three finalists extensive opportunities to meet with staff, students, administrators and supervisors, elected officials, and other parents and citizens.  procedures were developed for written feedback to help the Preston Board of Education in its final selection of a new Superintendent of Schools.

Each day-in-district culminated with a BOE/Screening Committee/Finalist dinner and an extensive open-ended final candidate interview.  Following three days with three superb finalists, the Board elected its new Superintendent of Schools, and our final choice seems to be identical with that of almost everyone in the Town's educational community who met our three finalists.

As a result of our experiences with CABE Search Services, the entire Preston Board of Education recommends CABE Search Services unreservedly and enthusiastically to any board of education facing a new superintendent search.  CABE Search Services provides extensive information and guidance but always respects the differences between its role and that of the Board of Education."

Pauline Andruskiewicz
Preston Public Schools

"One major characteristic of this CABE search team that stands out was the careful attention they paid to the unique needs of both the candidates and the board, as the process played out.  As soon as developments arose, Eliza was on the phone to me, the chairman of the board, who functioned as her liaison.  Her first concerns were for the welfare of both candidate and client.  The second outstanding characteristic of this search was the constant availability of the team, for all of the many processes that were underway.

Every search for a school administrator is a unique experience.  The complete attention to detail, and the wealth of experience that Eliza and Deborah bring to the process, are the perfect formula for a successful search."

Stephen Egbertson, Chair
Board of Education
Regional School District No. 7