Schenectady

Schenectady school board to interview candidates for interim superintendent position

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The Schenectady school board is set to meet on Wednesday with four potential candidates to serve as interim superintendent next school year, board President John Foley said Tuesday.

The school board is scheduled to hold a special meeting Wednesday night for the purpose of going into a closed session to conduct interviews with the candidates for the interim position, a position that will be vacated by current interim Superintendent Aaron Bochniak at the end of August. 

Foley said Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy lined up the interviews; the board does not expect to make an appointment Wednesday. He said the job was not posted but that people have come forward with an interest in the interim position.

Foley said he and the board are aware of the ticking clock on Bochniak’s tenure and the need to identify an interim leader to oversee the district next school year. He said it’s important to find someone in time for the next interim to work alongside Bochniak for a period of transition.

“I think it would be important to get somebody in time for the interim Superintendent Bochniak to have time to work and orient them a little,” Foley said. “It’s a critical position and obviously there is a clock.”

Bochniak is scheduled to depart the district at the end of August, but he has also indicated a desire to use up untouched vacation time this summer. Bochniak, who took over as the interim leader over a year ago after former Superintendent Larry Spring resigned, took a job as a deputy superintendent at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES. 

The board had hoped to have a new superintendent on board in a more permanent position but a nearly-yearlong search process ended up with the board unable to reach an agreement with its lone finalist.

It’s not clear how long the next interim will be needed. Board members have discussed what kind of process to use in searching for a permanent leader but have yet to reach a consensus, particularly over how to involve the public in the search, and board candidates running in next week’s election have also offered differing visions of what a search should look like.

Foley, whose term expires at the end of June and is not seeking a new term on the board, said he thinks the board should wait until new members join July 1 before making a decision about how to move forward with the search for a permanent superintendent. But he also didn’t rule out the possibility of a candidate for the permanent position emerging before then.

“My personal opinion is it’s appropriate for them to make decisions about the search, how the search will be conducted,” Foley said of the board members who will be elected next week and will formally join the board July 1. “They should be involved in the decision as much as you can make that happen.”

The interim leader will have plenty on their plate: overseeing the potential return of all students to in-person instruction; managing the initial investments of tens of millions of dollars in federal aid to the district; filling a number of vacant administrative positions, and; working to address a litany of challenges highlighted by a recent Capital Region BOCES report, including staff mistrust and a lack of focus on academic curriculum.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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