Report: Diversity, Experience Key In Tarrytown Superintendent Search

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The Board of Education of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns discussed what characteristics they wanted in a new superintendent on Thursday. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The new superintendent for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns should be someone who has experience managing a diverse school district and can guide the district through its current challenges, a report from search firm Hazard, Attea and Young said.

“People really wanted an educator with a vision,” search consultant Debbie Razies said.

School board officials discussed what characteristics they wanted to see in a new superintendent during Thursday's Board of Education meeting. Consultants also went over opinions gathered from community and school groups during the search process.

More than 240 online surveys were completed in addition to 95 personal interviews with community groups to create a profile of the next superintendent for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns.

Superintendent Howard Smith announced last year that he would retire in July 2013 after serving 11 years in the district.

The school board will begin interviewing candidates in January, with a final selection in February or March. The new superintendent would take office in July 2013. Forty-eight applicants have already submitted or started applications, search consultant Hank Gmitro said.

School officials said the superintendent search report would be posted on the district website by Friday morning.

Diversity was a major issue for everyone in the district, Razies said. Community members said they wanted someone who could bring different groups together and especially work to include the Latino community. Razies said many people wanted a bilingual superintendent to help facilitate communication.

Community members also wanted someone who could follow in Smith's stead and would stick around for several years. Razies said Smith's leadership and openness were praised.

“For the most part, people believe the system has been managed well,” Razies said.

School officials also considered whether they wanted to limit their search to people with superintendent experience. Many board members said they would be willing to consider applicants who were not as experienced if they were quick learners and could improve the district.

Gmitro agreed, noting that younger superintendents are more likely to stay in districts for several years.

"We encourage you to cast the net wide at this point," he said.

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