BALLSTON SPA – Scheduled public presentations by candidates seeking the superintendent position for the Ballston Spa Central School District have been cancelled and the search re-opened. The school board has been searching for a new superintendent of schools for months and after what has been a lengthy recruitment and process, including candidate meetings with representative advisory groups, a fresh effort is underway to fill the position.
The board began the search process last October and in February, screened candidates and conducted initial interviews. Semi-finalists were interviewed by two advisory committees during the first week of March which included members of the community, school staff, students and parents. After listening to the feedback provided, the school board said in a press release they have “decided to continue to search for the candidate who could best meet the needs of the school district and community.”
“WSWHE BOCES has handled the search and done a great job yielding us 13 candidates, all sitting superintendents or assistant superintendents in NYS,” said Denise Jones, interim superintendent and human resource professional. “We are currently exploring options to expand the search and should have more information by next weeks board meeting.”
Speaking to a reporter from the Daily Gazette, Jones also said”it’s not unusual for the school district to extend its search.”
“We’re mainly interviewing those from northern and western New York, which tend to be smaller districts than Ballston Spa, so things they think are innovative, we’ve been doing for years,” she said. “We’re not getting applicants from southern New York, because the salary is higher there.”
Jones also told the Gazette, “the district needs a visionary leader and will wait to find the right person.”
“We need someone who can take stock of all the great things we have going on here and help our students excel even more than they already are,” she said. “We need someone who is able to give our students more unique opportunities. One thing we do really well is that the school is part of the community, and the community is part of the school,” she said. “We have a lot of partnerships, so I hope they take the time to get to know those players and bring in their own connections,” said Jones
School Board President Kevin Schaefer also spoke to the Gazette and said “the overall feeling was that none of the candidates really wowed the [Advisory Board] to say, ‘Yes, this is the next superintendent,'” he said. “We didn’t see any of them leading Ballston Spa.”
“The school board has the sole responsibility, but we like to get the advisory committee’s feedback and not just rely on the seven board members,” he said.
“The requirements of the superintendent position, Schaefer said to the reporter, “are that they must be able to maintain relationships internally in the district and externally with the business partners in the community who provide funding.”
“They also must have a knowledge of curriculum, have the ability to negotiate contracts and resolve issues that arise.”
“We want someone who can lead, not just manage the district,” Schaefer said. “We want someone who is passionate about the district, wants to see change and is compassionate with parents, students and staff.”
“We want them to succeed and make Ballston Spa their home,” he said. “Also, we want them to take a lot of pride in being superintendent and move the district forward.”
The board will determine the next steps in the recruitment process at their next regular meeting on March 21.
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