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Search begins for new superintendent

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The process for finding a replacement for Superintendent Dr. William H. Johnson has begun. The Rockville Centre Board of Education has hired consulting firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) to conduct the search for the next superintendent of schools.

At last week’s board of education meeting, HYA consultant Deborah Raizes explained what goes into doing a search. She said her firm, which specializes in assisting school boards with finding candidates to fill “leadership” positions, has conducted more than 1,400 searches and she personally has been involved in about 90 superintendent searches over the past 20 years. She and consultant Judy Ferguson will be conducting the searches, starting with a series of focus groups slated to begin this week.

“We want to know, from the community, what are the strengths, issues, characteristics and areas of expertise you’re looking for in a superintendent,” Raizes said.

There is also an online survey that the community is encouraged to fill out, available on the district’s website through Oct. 15. In addition to offering perceptions of the district, people can recommend names of those they think would be a good fit. Visit rvcschools.org to take the anonymous and confidential survey, conducted by HYA.

Raizes said she expects to meet with about 10 to 15 to people total, and she and Ferguson will narrow it down to the top four to six people for the board to interview.

“We’re hired to recruit and we do it aggressively, but not obnoxiously,” said Raizes. “We call people, have a discussion and start interviewing candidates so we can present a slate to the board.”

She said the candidate search will most likely be narrowed done by December, but there is no strict timeline.

“There’s no rush,” Raizes said. “The important thing is for the board to be thrilled about the candidate.

She said if the board isn’t happy with anyone, they will continue to search. Additionally, she explained that the search is confidential and only one name will be made public: the name of the chosen replacement.

“These are people who are already doing an excellent job in their district,” Raizes said, noting the intent is not to jeopardize anyone’s career or create an uncomfortable situation for those who are not hired.

HYA is also conducting focus groups, consisting of members of the PTA, SEP, administrators, teachers, union representatives and community leaders. These participants had already been selected as of the Sept. 17 meeting.

Resident Jeff Greenfield, who arrived late to the meeting and missed the presentation, said he does not like the way the process is starting out.

“The focus groups are predetermined…there’s no transparency or discrepancy,” Greenfield said.

Two open forums will be held on Oct. 7, facilitated by HYA consultants. The first begins at 10 a.m., the second at 7:30 p.m. in the South Side Middle School auditorium. The next school board meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Hewitt Elementary School.