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Albion district seeks community input in selecting new superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 July 2020 at 8:48 am

ALBION – The school district wants to hear from the community about what they want in a school superintendent.

The district is pushing to have a new superintendent in place by Jan. 1.

The district has an on-line survey that lists about 30 qualities and skills for a superintendent. Respondents are asked to rank their five most critical skills for a superintendent to be effective at Albion.

Scott Bischoping is Albion’s interim superintendent.

Ability to create a positive school culture, unquestioned integrity, strong presence in schools and community, strong commitment to student achievements and success, and outstanding written and oral communication skills are among the possible responses.

Survey respondents are asked to pick what they believe is the single, most important quality for the next superintendent.

The survey also asks respondents to consider the top three areas of focus for the superintendent in the next 3-5 years.

Some of those areas listed on the survey include budget and finance, communication with the community, instruction/student performance, contract negotiations/labor relations, building and sustaining strong sports and arts programs, improving technology, and building relationships and trust with stakeholders.

The survey, which takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous, will be online until July 24. The survey is available in English and Spanish.

The district also is forming focus groups of staff, students, parents and other community members. The groups will be asked to identify the following: desired traits, characteristics and behaviors of the new superintendent as well as challenges and opportunities the new superintendent will face.

Albion has hired the Western New York Educational Service Council, located at the University of Buffalo, to assist in the search. The consultants will meet with stakeholder focus groups on July 20 and 21. There will be an open session on July 21 for the community to hear from the consultants at a location to be determined.

Kathy Harling, the Board of Education president, said the board members take the responsibility of selecting the next superintendent very seriously.

“The Board feels it is critical to obtain community input about the desired characteristics of the next superintendent as well as the challenges and opportunities that they will encounter,” Harling said in a letter to the community.

Albion will be doing a closed search to provide confidentiality for people pursuing the position. Board members will consider the input from the community in hiring the next superintendent.

“The Board wants to ensure that the search draws a very strong field of successful candidates and understands that confidentiality is critically important for highly successful candidates who do not want to jeopardize their current positions,” Harling said.

The board wants to hire the new superintendent in November, with a start date on or before Jan. 1.

Scott Bischoping is serving as Albion’s interim superintendent. He started on Monday.

He takes over as superintendent for Michael Bonnewell, who will serve as evaluator of teachers in the his last year with the district before his retirement.

Bischoping most recently served as interim superintendent at North Rose-Wolcott Central School from Feb. 3 late June. Previously, Bischoping was an interim superintendent at Batavia City School District. He also was the district superintendent for Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES.

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