Niskayuna school board to send out community survey for superintendent search


A new Niskayuna Central School District superintendent likely won’t be in place for months regardless of what search process the school board decides to use. 

The search for a new superintendent comes as current Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra announced in early July he would be leave the district Oct. 6 and taking over as superintendent of the New Hartford Central School District.

During a special school board meeting Tuesday evening, the superintendent and deputy superintendent of Capital Region BOCES laid out a timeline the district could follow that has a new superintendent starting July 1.

However, that timeline isn’t set in stone, official said. 

“This could be compressed, this could be expanded, but we gave you the best worst case scenario I think for where you are,” said BOCES Superintendent Anita Murphy. 

Part of the timeline for hiring someone depends on what search process the board goes with.

A more traditional search would offer an opportunity for members of the public and other interested parties to interview the superintendent.

“You’re not asking the stakeholders to make a decision,” said BOCES Deputy Superintendent Lauren Gemmill.

A confidential search would limit interviews to mainly school board members. 

The process is similar to the one BOCES laid out for the Schenectady City School District during its superintendent search. 

But before the board makes any decisions on what process the district will take it will open up a survey Friday to the community consisting of five questions:

  1. What are the strengths of Niskayuna Central School District? 
  2. What needs to be improved? 
  3. What characteristics and personal attributes should the new superintendent have? 
  4. What will the new superintendent need to work on first? 
  5. Do you have any additional thoughts or comments? 

Those questions are also the same ones that will be asked at the forums scheduled to take place some time between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3. 

Murphy said the survey and community forums are two areas the school district shouldn’t try to compress or speed up. Murphy said the forums will be open to everyone. 

She said even if the school district did a confidential search and sped up the process the earliest it could still get someone is December. 

Many board members agreed not to fly through the survey our community input portion of the search. 

Board Vice President Sarah Rogerson said people are welcome to reach out to any board member via their school board email accounts about the search process.

“I think as much information as we can have throughout this deliberative process the better,” she said.

In the meantime the board will be looking at the possibility of an interim or acting superintendent to run the school district. After the meeting board member Brian Backus said that was a topic that could be discussed at the school board’s next meeting on Aug. 17.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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