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Firm Cites January Deadline for Hiring New Nyack Superintendent

New details emerged last week about the search for a new Nyack School District superintendent during a special Board meeting, including specifics about the search team, the recruiting process and the unveiling of a goal for finding a new leader by January.

It was essentially a planning meeting with the search firm hired by the Board over the summer via an RFP (Request for Proposal) process.

The firm, Hazard Young Attea and Associates (HYA), is based in Illinois and conducts searches nationally. The effort for Nyack is being led by two local consultants: Debbie Raizes and Susan Guiney. It is not the same firm hired for the last superintendent search.

Raizes is a former school board member in Scarsdale where she served for six years where she mentioned, they are limited to two-to-three-year terms and the positions of President & Vice President are filled by seniority. She has been conducting searches with HYA for 20 years.

Guiney is the former superintendent for Mount Pleasant school district. Raizes and Guiney are also conducting searches for at least two other local school districts: Scarsdale and Hillsborough in New Jersey. The consultants said these are not considered competitive searches and would never propose the same candidate to multiple school districts.

The process they proposed to follow mirrors that of the previous superintendent search: individual interviews with school Board members as well as key personnel, including heads of bargaining units (teacher, secretary and security unions), principals, directors and central office staff.

Focus groups and a community survey will gather additional feedback. The consultants will put together a 1-2 page summary of the characteristics of the superintendent to be presented at an October Board meeting.

Then they will recruit (via their networks and advertising) and screen candidates with the goal to present 5-6 final candidates for the Board to interview. The Board will select semi-finalists and do a second round of interviews and then select the finalist.

The goal will be to announce the new superintendent in January.

Community questions were asked about making sure the PTA council is included in focus groups as well as how a candidate’s focus on equity would be evaluated.

The consultants replied that they ask for the candidate’s definition of equity, how they have applied that definition in their current district, as well as what difficulties they have had in their equity work.

When asked about including community in a confidential search, the consultants replied that they don’t recommend it as the more people who know about it the more difficult it is to keep confidential. As for the ambitious goal to hire someone by January — the last superintendent search took the entire school year — the consultants said it will give the district a head start on the best candidates. 

The school community should receive the survey by email in the next few weeks and it will also be available on the school website.

What’s next and how you can learn more

Here’s a link to the district’s superintendent search information page.

There was regularly scheduled meeting on September 20. We’ll have a report on that meeting up soon. Click here to find out when and where you can attend upcoming meetings (they are generally on the first and third Tuesday of every month.)

To listen to a podcast of recent meetings, click here.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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