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School district consultants discuss superintendent search with community

— Peris asked the audience, for example, if the BOE had a strong candidate from Camillus, should they require that person to move into the Skaneateles district, or allow for individual circumstances as long as they live in a reasonable proximity to the district?

“Relocation is a major issue,” Peris said, citing spousal and children considerations, cost of living, geographic location and job security, since, in New York state, superintendents do not receive tenure and are contracted with for three to five years.

During the discussion and feedback portion of the forum, attendees had numerous questions and comments for the consultants. Community members who spoke were not asked their names in order for their comments to all be considered equally by the BOE without any possibility of personal prejudices, Peris said. Similarly, no BOE members were present at the forum in order for residents to feel comfortable in making their comments.

Residents offered a multitude of opinions as to what they believe makes a successful superintendent, which Peris boiled down to as being a strong decision maker with a strong sense of moral purpose who will not pander to one interest group over another. Speakers also said they wanted a person who was good at managing change, looking toward the changing future of the district, developing the next generation of leadership in the district, good at communicating with the community and not afraid to think outside the box.

Attendees were split on whether or not the next superintendent must reside within the school district.

The consultants also were asked what they thought were important characteristics for a superintendent. McElheran said the person should be a “collaborative leader” who will work with and be accessible to the staff, as well as be visible to and engaged with the community. “People skills are as important as they [academic] degrees they hold,” he said.

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