On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua took a few moments to update Central Valley staff on the district’s search for new superintendent.
Explaining that former superintendent Dr. Cosimo Tangorra’s unexpected departure had come as a surprise to everyone—including Dr. Tangorra, he said that the Central Valley Board of Education had moved promptly to find a new superintendent. He outlined the steps in that process.
First, the district took advantage of the BOCES service that seeks out and pre-screens candidates.
Mr. Vivacqua made it very clear that his role is limited to organizing the search process, screening applications to ensure candidates are fully qualified, conducting preliminary interviews and assisting the board to develop interview questions. The decisions who to interview and ultimately who to hire are solely the board’s responsibility.
Second, working with the Central Valley board, he will arrange two rounds of interviews with the full board. The first round will include approximately eight candidates who will meet individually with the board to answer predetermined questions. A subset of those candidates will return for a second interview in which each will make a presentation to the board and answer follow up questions.
Third, by early October, the board will narrow the list of candidates to an expected three finalists. District stakeholders will have the opportunity to meet those finalists in one of two forums.
The unions representing school employees will meet prior with Mr. Vivacqua to develop questions that employee representatives will ask the candidates. Those representatives will meet with and question the candidates.
All community members, including district staff who were not part of the in-school meetings, will have the opportunity to hear the candidates during an evening forum. A district moderator will ask the candidates predetermined questions and then open the meeting for questions from the floor. All attendees will be invited to provide their feedback by completing reaction forms at the meeting’s end. The forms will ask community members to evaluate each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and how well a candidate would fit at Central Valley.
At no time will staff or community members be asked to rank or choose a candidate. That responsibility rests with the board of education alone, said Mr. Vivacqua.
Finally, following all interviews and meetings, the board expects to make a final decision and appoint a new superintendent by Nov. 1. Most school administrators must give their current employers a 60-day notice under their contracts. Naming the new superintendent on Nov. 1 would mean he or she would begin at Central Valley immediately after the December holiday vacation.
Although he described the possibility as unlikely, Mr. Vivacqua said that if the board did not find a suitable superintendent, it had the right to reopen the search to seek a new pool of candidates. In his opinion, however, that would be unlikely given the quality of the pool of candidates.