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School district consultants discuss superintendent search with community

— Consultants to the Skaneateles Board of Education on the hiring of a new district superintendent spent an entire day last week meeting with students, teachers, administrators, parents and residents in the district in order to get a sense of what characteristics the community wants in its new school district leader.

Henry J. Peris, Tim McElheran and Fred Wilie, of the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, will use all the feedback they collected, along with the results of a community survey posted online by the BOE, to report to the board the qualities it should seek in a new superintendent.

“There’s going to be a lot of interest in this position” because of geographic location, district success and community involvement, Peris said during the community forum on Monday, Nov. 19. “We know we will attract a strong field of candidates.”

The Skaneateles BOE hired consultants from the Warner School in late October to assist in the search for its next superintendent. Each of the consultants – including Bob McClure, who was not present at last week’s meetings – has more than a dozen years’ experience as former superintendents, and have conducted superintendent searches for multiple school districts around the state.

The men are currently consulting districts in Canandaigua and Grand Island, as well as Skaneateles, on superintendent searches.

Peris began the forum, which was attended by about 20 people, by offering statistics on the current state of administrative realities across the state, including age, gender, length of service and average retirement age. He said more districts in recent years are promoting superintendents from within their own district rather than hiring from outside, and 95 percent of all superintendents do not live within the district at the time of hiring.

“Residency is a key issue that boards of education must grapple with,” Peris said. “Do you want the best candidate, or the best candidate you can find who will live in Skaneateles?”

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