Pelham Board of Education President Lisa Kiernan said the district is ready to move ahead on its number one education goal for 2012-2013: its search for a new superintendent.
"As we look, the most important thing is reaching out to all our constituents here in Pelham." Kiernan said.
The Board is hoping to get that participation through upcoming focus group discussions and an online survey.
The online survey will be live on the district website until October 5 and is open to all community members.
There will also be a focus group of invited community stakeholders on Thursday, September 27 at 9:15 a.m. and Thursday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall to give parents, administrators, teachers, staff and even students an opportunity to contribute to a discussion of what the district is looking for in its new superintendent.
"Parents, PTA," listed Kiernan, "we've identified a bunch of groups to weigh in on the process to make sure we hear from everyone in the process."
Once that feedback has been gleaned the conversation opens to the community at large. At the regular school board meeting on October 15, education consultants Hazard, Young and Attea will give a Leadership Profile Presentation summarizing what has been culled from the community and taking further questions and comments.
Executive search firm Hazard, Young and Attea of Rosemont, IL was . The firm has managed more than 800 superintendent searches since it was established in 1987, including 78 in the Northeast United States.
The firm is also managing a superintendent search for the Tarrytown school district this year.
Kiernan said the community will have many opportunities to participate in the process and she is hopeful it will be possible to "have a slate of 5 candidates ready for us to present to board [by late November] and hopefully have finalists by December."
"It's a speedy timeline, but hopefully a good one for us," said Kiernan. "We want to get a jump on other searches."
Kiernan said, "We hope to identify a replacement by January so they’ll be ready to work with us by July 2013." will serve until the end of the calendar year before taking on a new role at Southern Westchester BOCES and from January to July 2013.
Convinced that an early start would give Pelham Union Free School District an advantage over other regional school districts, Kiernan said the ball is already rolling on the multi-step hiring process.
The Board chose its search firm over the summer and has been working since to "come up with a plan of attack." Former Byram Hills and Bronxville School District Superintendent John Chambers and former Scarsdale school board member Debbie Raizes have also lent a hand with the process helping to give HYA a fuller sense of the region.
So far, the group has discussed the best marketing strategy for the job announcement. An item regarding the position will appear in the print version of Education Week and on its website for September and October. It will also run in a number of regional and statewide professional association newsletters.
"We feel like we've got very good coverage with our placement of the ad," said Kiernan. " But [HYA] don’t just rely on ads. They have a very deep knowledge of [available] candidates and will recruit for us." That executive recruiting is part of the added value of working with the firm conveyed Kiernan.