Montgomery County

50 seek to fill Fonda-Fultonville superintendent vacancy

There is a pile of job applications on the desk of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative E

There is a pile of job applications on the desk of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Education Services Superintendent Patrick Michel.

Michel stepped in as interim superintendent of the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District when James Hoffman left on June 30 to take a job as superintendent of the Averill Park Central School District. Michel is also heading up the search for a permanent replacement.

The application deadline passed a few days ago, leaving him with 50 resume packets worth of reading material. That number was halved right away as many were not fully qualified for the position, Michel said.

“I’d like to see someone who has led a rural school through financial problems,” he said. “I’d like to see how they were solved.”

Each applicant wrote an essay detailing what they would do to bring Fonda-Fultonville through its current financial problems. Michel is halfway through the essays and seeing some promise.

Next he’ll do a quick background check, calling references and doing a Google search. It’s simple but has proven effective in past superintendent searches, he said.

“Once I found that a guy had been arrested for embezzlement 10 years before,” he said. “It doesn’t happen often, but often enough.”

In the coming weeks, Board of Education members will sort through the applications.

Michel hopes that by mid-September the number of candidates will be reduced to six, who will be called in for face-to-face interviews. From there, the pool will shrink to three, with one hired by the Board of Education sometime in October. The new superintendent is expected to step in Jan. 1.

Michel knows what he would like to see in a candidate — a combination of academic prowess and fiscal responsibility. He said he’d also like to get a better view of what people in the school district want.

“I might even do a focus group, just to get to the heart of it,” he said.

Of the people who have applied for the superintendent’s post, three are sitting superintendents and the rest are mainly school building managers, assistant superintendents and principals, all from within New York state.

“I think we’ll find someone suitable in this first round,” he said, “but working with Fonda-Fultonville has been nothing but a pleasure. I’ll be here until it’s done.”

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