SHELTON — The Board of Education has chosen a search firm to find a permanent superintendent for a district that, since shortly before the state closed down all school buildings, has been led by an interim.

At its meeting Wednesday, the school board unanimously voted to retain the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education to lead its search for a permanent leader. The board chose CABE — which aided the district in its last search — from among five proposals.

“CABE has all of the credentials to handle the process, which is time-consuming and complicated,” said board Chair Kathy Yolish. “CABE knows education and has invested their knowledge in developing a network of school administrators.”

“CABE did our last search, and the process went smooth … I was happy with the results,” said board member Kate Kutash, who motioned for approving retention of CABE.

Yolish told the board, “Of the five search teams presented by our HR director, Carole Pannozzo, CABE presented a comprehensive and affordable plan that is within our very lean budget.”

CABE aided in the most recent search that netted the district Chris Clouet, who resigned in February to take a state Department of Education post. Beth Smith, former Shelton High principal, was named interim superintendent. She has not yet stated if she plans to vie for the permanent position.

“We are committed to deep and meaningful outreach to any and all school and community stakeholders through focus groups, a survey and interviews, ensuring all constituents feel heard and a part of the process,” said Mary Broderick, CABE senior search consultant.

CABE, at a cost of some $12,000, by far the lowest of the proposals, will begin its work on July 1. Yolish said a final selection is expected in late September or early October because “if the selected candidate is chosen externally, he or she would have to give notice to their board. If it’s an internal selection, then it would be no problem.”

CABE will conduct a focus group with the board, then prepare a vacancy announcement to distribute through state and national sites and collect applications.

The firm will also conduct screening interviews of all candidates and do reference and background checks, including validating academic and employment credentials, consumer credit and criminal history. CABE will also organize a site visit to the finalist’s current place of employment, the board said.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com