NORTH SHORE BOE BEGINS INTERVIEWING FIRMS FOR NEW SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH
March 1, 2016 -- At its meeting this past Thursday evening, the North Shore Board of Education began the process of finding a replacement for Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick when he retires at the end of the 2016-17 school year, conducting the first of five public interviews with school administrator search firms.
"Process matters,"said Dr. Berliner reading a statement before the interview began, and outlined the procedures the board would follow in selecting a search firm. All five firms, he explained would be asked the same questions by board members, so as to insure as best as possible "an objective process" with a "level playing field."
The firm interviewed this past Thursday was the Long Island-based School Leadership LLC, headed by Charles Fowler, a former Superintendent himself for 35 years who has lead districts across the country both very large such as Sarasota, Florida and Nassau County BOCES and others smaller such as Hewlett-Woodmere. Accompanying Dr. Fowler were the two "associates" who would lead North Shore's search - Dr. Martin Brooks and Dr. Carol Choi, both former Superintendents.
Dr. Brooks explained that he is quite familiar with the North Shore Schools, having in the past, as director of the Tri-States Consortium, led reviews of the district's academic programs. Later in the evening, on a completely separate issue, Dr. Brooks, who conducted the recent review of the District's middle school and high school Guidance Departments, presented his findings and recommendations.
Dr. Fowler, in both his opening presentation and responses to questions, highlighted School Leadership's country-wide connections that would give North Shore "entry into the a network of successful school leaders and the opportunity to find leaders who are the right match for the unique charactor of the community." Two-thirds of prospective candidates the firm has recommended to districts in past searches, he explained, have been from the northeast region while the rest from other areas of the country.
Each district, Dr. Fowler continued, requires school leaders with a particular skill set and background, and the company's reach would provide the opportunity to find such administrators.
Dr. Berliner asked how School Leadership, assuming it would also be conducting searches for other districts, could assure the district that they would not be withholding any candidates from North Shore. Dr. Fowler responded that Drs. Brooks and Choi would be working only on the North Shore search, and so there would be no competition with other districts. Additionally, he said the firm does not decide on a candidate, but rather recommends a group of candidates from which the District would ultimately make its decision.
Trustee Marianne Russo asked how candidates from within the district would be treated. Dr. Fowler replied that he has always recommended that districts treat internal candidates as they would all others. "It is more equitable and more comfortable" for both the candidates and the district, he said.
In response to questions from Trustee Lara Gonzalez regarding the educational philosophy of potential candidates - in particular a candidate's commitment to serving the needs of all students, Dr. Fowler said that the Board would create the search criteria. "Your specifications drive everything we do," he said. "That would reflect what is important to you. What is important here in North Shore - we take that and run with it."
As for who would be involved in developing those specifications, Dr. Fowler said in response to a question from Trustee Joanna Commander that before reaching out to potential candidates, it was important for his team to have "access to stakeholders" including faculty and parents, and in particular leaders of school organizations such as PTOs, in order to understand the district, its needs, and its philosophy. He recommended that stakeholders have a say before a search begins rather than holding public meetings after the search is conducted at which stakeholders can ask questions of the candidates. That latter process, he explained, discourages many outstanding candidates from throwing their hat in the ring as they often do not want it made public to the district in which they are currently employed that they are considering taking a position elsewhere.
Interviews will continue through the next two meetings, and once a firm is hired, School Board President Herman Berliner has said that hopefully some time this upcoming fall the board will have a group of candidates from which to choose. The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday March 10.
(Article by Northwordnews)
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