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Southern Ulster TimesHighland Superintendent search begins

Highland Superintendent search begins

Last week Dr. Charles Khoury, District Superintendent of Ulster BOCES, updated the Highland School Board on the search for a new Superintendent for Highland after the recent announcement by current Superintendent, Deborah Haab, that she would be leaving her position this month.

In July Khoury presented to the board an overview of the process, pointing out last week that the next step “is to finalize the content of the vacancy announcement that will be used to get the word out.” He invited the board to offer their input concerning the announcement. He said his communications department at BOCES could assist the search using social media.

Khoury reminded the board of his offer to meet with constituents, such as the PTA or Teacher-leadership groups, to discuss their concerns “face to face people tend to share a bit more.” He said he would deliver written observations about these meetings to the board in late September and entertain comments from the board on specific qualifications they would like to see in a prospective candidate for Superintendent.

Khoury said the announcement of the vacancy could happen by the end of September, indicting that he will circulate the information in print ads to newspapers, on social media and to the New York State School Board Association. He said he will be attending the New York State Council of Superintendents meeting this month and speak with current Superintendents who may be looking to apply for the position in Highland.

“When people inquire we send them applications and brochures but we also direct them to websites. If it is an email or letter inquiry, we usually send them a whole battery of information,” he said.

Khoury said a statement will be posted stating that applications are accepted until the position is filled in order to allow the school board time to consider all qualified candidates.

“If you get a good candidate or a great candidate who shows up two days after the closing date, you don’t want to turn them away,” he said.

Khoury said he checks to see that all applications include the necessary information, such as screening and references, but all applications are eventually provided to the board.

In early November Khoury said a list of all candidates will be submitted to the board, with “initial first-contact executive session interviews” with the board to begin the week of November 13.

Khoury said at this point school boards usually conduct more in-depth interviews with candidates to narrow the field. Once the board is down to two choices they could, as an option, arrange a site visit to a candidate’s work place. After the board makes their final selection contract negotiations and transition plans follow. Khoury said the entire process may take until February of next year to complete.

Board member Mike Bakatsias said scheduled evenings would allow staff and parents time to meet and “verbalize some of the characteristics that they want [in a candidate]…This is an opportunity for them to come in and say this is what’s important to me. I think I’d like to say we made that available.”

Board President Alan Barone said the next five months may involve additional meetings to weigh all of the information and options that would lead to hiring a new Superintendent of Schools.

By Mark Reynolds

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