NORTH READING — After two years in the making, the school department’s long running search for the next Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) director is scheduled to come to an end on Monday, April 27.

The school department has been searching for a permanent PPS director to lead the special education department since the spring of 2013, when Patricia Bullard announced she was leaving the school system to take over Masconomet’s special education department. The PPS director is in charge of all special education, health/nursing, guidance, homeless and 504 plan services for all North Reading students in pre-kindergarten to grade 12.

The last two PPS director searches were unsuccessful. Dr. Valerie Ardi Flynn has served as the school department’s interim PPS director since July 2013.

After striking out twice in the search for a permanent PPS director, a search committee led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick Daly launched a third search earlier this winter. The search committee recommended two finalists to move forward: Kristin Burke and Cynthia Conant.

Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard informed the School Committee last week school officials have conducted site visits to both candidates’ schools and reference checks have been completed. Bernard anticipates he will be bringing forward a recommendation to the School Committee on Monday, April 27, beginning at 7 p.m. State law requires school committees to appoint special education directors.

School Committee Chairman Jerry Venezia previously asked Bernard to give the school board an opportunity to interview both candidates but Venezia has since changed his mind. He originally wanted to interview the two candidates similar to when the committee interviewed Michael Connelly and two other finalists for the school finance director job two years ago.

“I am satisfied with the process,” Venezia. “I am satisfied with Jon’s judgment and Patrick’s judgment. It’s good to be moving forward with this.”

Kristin Burke

Kristin Burke is the current special education coordinator for North Reading Public Schools. Before Burke was appointed to her current position, she was the school department’s evaluation team leader for the district’s three elementary schools.

Burke previously worked as an evaluation team supervisor for Lexington Public Schools prior to coming to North Reading. She also worked for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Additionally, Burke worked as a special education teacher for the Duxbury, Norwood and Winchester public schools. Burke attended Villanova University and earned a master of science in education degree from Simmons College. She also earned a certificate of advanced graduate studies from UMass Boston.

Cynthia Conant

The second PPS director finalist is Cynthia Conant, who has been Fitchburg Public Schools’ assistant special education director for the past three years. Conant previously worked as a program coordinator in a 45-day diagnostic program for the FLLC Collaborative. She also worked as a guidance counselor for Ashland Public Schools.

Additionally, Conant has prior experience working as a case coordinator for the Family Stabilization Program. She worked as a program physician and as a social worker at the Dr. Franklin Perkins School. She also worked for the Department of Social Services. Conant attended Saint Michael’s College and earned a master of education from Cambridge College.