Schenectady County

Search begins for Schenectady schools chief

The Schenectady school board has begun its search for a new superintendent.

The Schenectady school board has begun its search for a new superintendent.

But so far, all that’s been decided is that Schenectady will hire BOCES as a search consultant.

The Board of Education held a closed-door meeting Wednesday to begin hammering out how it will handle the search.

“We are in the process of sort of defining the process,” said board President Cathy Lewis. Board members have not yet decided what characteristics they want in the next superintendent. Lewis wants someone like Superintendent John Yagielski — an expert who can advise the board on ways to improve education.

“I believe that the superintendent and his staff have the background in education, the details to make the best recommendation,” Lewis said.

But other board members might prefer a superintendent who is led by the board. Under that system, board members would craft programs and policies and the superintendent would implement them.

The board also hasn’t decided yet whether to get input from the public about what characteristics to look for in the next superintendent. “I expect we’re going to have quite a bit of public input,” Lewis said. “Somewhere in the process.”

The district might do an online survey or hold public meetings. Once the board selects several candidates, some residents might be appointed to an interview committee.

The board’s goal is to hire someone before the end of the school year. But Lewis acknowledged that the board doesn’t want to simply pick someone because that person is available soon. The trick is to get excellent candidates — but get them quickly.

“Obviously, that’s our concern,” Lewis said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re at the very beginning of the process.”

She would rather simply keep Yagielski — but he was hired a year ago as a one-year, temporary leader. At age 70, he is eager to return to his retirement.

He has emphasized that he won’t leave the district in the lurch — but he does intend to leave as soon as the district can replace him.

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