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Rumble of Thunder—August 14, 2015

Photo of Dr. HughesIt’s hard to believe that the 15-16 school year is right around the corner.  Staff reports for their first day on September 2nd with our Thunder returning on September 8th. The summer has been busy, preparing for the upcoming school year. Some might think the summer is a quiet time for educators, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most of us seek out and utilize professional development opportunities to get better at what we do. Teachers and principals look at various types of data, from NYS Regents and 3-8 assessment scores to local student data, to identify and make plans to close gaps in student learning. On the administrative side, schedules are finalized, ranging from individual student schedules to extracurricular to transportation schedules. One of the most important summer tasks is hiring new personnel to either fill recently vacant positions or in some circumstances to further expand student opportunities.

This summer we have worked to fill a number of positions, including teachers in elementary, orchestra, physical education and technology, along with aides and teacher assistants in various areas. The other really important hires involved our administrative team. At CVA, Ms. Renee Rudd unexpectedly retired after a long and meaningful tenure. Not only did she do a wonderful job while leading Ilion but was crucial in bringing two high schools together to become CVA. With my full recommendation, the BOE unanimously approved Mr. Rich Keeler as our new principal.  We are excited to have him assume that role and lead CVA into the future.

With the movement of Mr. Keeler to principal and the vacancy created by Ms. Ciaccia taking over as Director of the Abraham House, we posted two openings for assistant principals.  We had 70 applications with a very strong applicant pool. I’m pleased to report that Mr. Aaron Carey is our new Jarvis AP and Mr. Jeremy Kozak as our new CVA AP. We expect great things from them.

Now that I’ve mentioned what hiring we have done over the summer, I’d like to share what our hiring process generally looks like. For each opening, the administrator where the opening occurs has access to all applications.  He or she evaluates all the applications to determine a candidate pool for first round interviews.  Others might be a part of the evaluation of applications including other administrators, staff from the department/building and the district office. Once the review process is completed, first round interviews are held by the administrator and others on an interview committee. Once the interview committee completes all first round interviews, selections are made for a second round of interviews.  For teachers, second round interviews often involve teaching a lesson for an expanded interview committee.  For administrators, it’s a larger committee including those that would be under his or her supervision. At the end of the second round, the supervising administrator has each committee member rank the applicants.  The administrator then provides the district office with the committee member rankings including his or her top choices.  The final round consists of an interview with the Assistant Superintendent and me. Throughout the process, reference checks are made as we try to turn over every stone.  The final step is a recommendation to the BOE after weighing all the information gleaned throughout the entire process.

The interview and hiring process takes time, but is meant to be thorough. This brings us to the why. The process has to be thorough so that we can find, recruit, interview and hire the best people possible for our Thunder.  In my humble opinion, there isn’t a more important job than preparing our Thunder for their future. That takes individuals that are not only knowledgeable but are also dedicated to get better each and every day to positively impact our students.  It’s going to be a great year at Central Valley, so be sure to come see our Thunder in action. See you in September!


Dr. Hughes