The Liverpool Central School District has named Mark Potter as its new superintendent.
Potter, who is currently serving as executive director of secondary education, will start Aug. 1, replacing Interim Superintendent Edward P. Backus. Backus took over for Dr. Richard N. Johns, who went out on medical leave in March. Johns joined the district in 2009.
Potter’s appointment was announced at the June 10 LCSD BOE meeting.
The district began its search for a new superintendent last fall when Johns announced he would be retiring. Nine stakeholder groups were created, each of which interviewed and evaluated the candidates and helped the board choose a finalist. In February, with the help of those stakeholder groups, the BOE prepared the following profile that outlined the ideal candidate:
“The board of education of the Liverpool Central School District is seeking candidates for the position of superintendent of schools with the intelligence, experience, leadership, good character and energy to direct an outstanding school system in its quest for new levels of achievement and excellence. The ideal candidate:
has a collaborative management style;
communicates openly and effectively with students, staff, community and board of education;
can relate to all segments of the school and community;
maintains a high level of personal visibility and accessibility in the schools and community;
has classroom teaching and administrative experience in New York state;
possesses strong leadership skills;
has district level administrative experience in a large school district.”
Potter served as an athletic director and principal at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown before coming to Liverpool in 2007 as the coordinator of academics and acting athletic director. At Liverpool, Potter was also the principal of the FOCUS program during the 2011-12 school year. Budget cuts closed down the program after just a year. He moved into central administration last year after Ellen Kuno’s retirement, taking over as executive director of secondary education.
Potter actually helped develop the FOCUS program, which served students who struggled in a traditional high school setting. Potter said at the time of the program’s closure that he felt it had accomplished at least part of its mission to help them reintegrate into that system.
“I think there have been major benefits to the program,” he said. “We also have staff that have learned how to teach in a different environment. One of the things that we have really pushed or promoted has been knowing what works with some of these students, and taking those skills and applying them next door. What works in one setting — using learning centers, using different media. We do a lot of videos. We do a lot of hands-on activities. We won’t go back to the ‘traditional teaching’ where you’re just delivering information. Keep the kids at the center of what you’re trying to accomplish, and part of that is student discussion, student projects.”
For more on this story, see next week’s edition of the Star-Review.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.