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Irvington Prepares For Superintendent Search

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – With Interim Superintendent Robert Roelle in place, the Irvington Board of Education is now discussing the search for a permanent superintendent.

“It's just really, really the most important thing on your plate for this year, and you're going to want to do it right,” Roelle told board members during Tuesday's meeting.

Roelle discussed what the Board of Education needs to be thinking about as it begins the search for a new superintendent. He advised board members to begin looking at search consultants as soon as possible.

“I'd like to do something sometime in September,” he said. “The sooner, the better.”

Roelle and School Board President John Dawson both advised the hiring of a search consultant during the process. Roelle stressed how the board didn't have the kind of time or resources that a search consultant would have to devote to finding a superintendent. Roelle also said he thought a search consultant would be able to cast a wider net in terms of candidates.

“We may lose out on candidates who don't want to overtly put their name out there,” Dawson said, of what could happen if the district attempts the search on its own. "Through a search group, they can put it out a little more clandestinely and you get a wider choice.”

Roelle urged board members to begin looking at consultants as soon as possible, noting that five school districts in the immediate area were also searching for superintendents. Those districts include Greenburgh, Hastings, Rye and Tuckahoe. Two of those school districts have already identified search consultants, Roelle said.

Roelle also cited Gov. Andrew Cuomo's efforts to put a cap on superintendent salaries, saying he couldn't imagine the issue wouldn't surface during the next legislative session.

“It will have an impact on your ability to recruit people,” Roelle said.

Another issue Roelle discussed was the degree to which the search would be public. All search consultants will say the board should involve the community in some way, Roelle said, but he urged board members to talk to consultants about this issue and figure out how public a search they want.

“There are some concerns about a public search that you should be aware of,” Roelle said, noting that some superintendents may not want to expose themselves publicly until an offer is ready to be made.

Roelle brought one search consultant's proposal to Tuesday's meeting, though he said it was not appropriate for the board to discuss the proposal in public since it might want to negotiate at some point. Roelle said the hiring of a search consultant was “a perfectly legitimate executive session comment.”

How do you think Irvington should handle its search for a permanent superintendent? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page .

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