More than 120 people applied for the role of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel and the final two candidates were interviewed by the Pelham PTA on Thursday evening.
Administrators, teachers, central office staff and residents came out to Pelham Memorial High School to hear Matthew T. Evans and Peter Giarrizzo share why they think they are qualified for the job. Evans currently works as the Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Fallsburg Central School District and Giarrizzo is the Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services in Elmsford.
Each candidate had about 15 minutes to answer a series of questions pertaining to the job’s demands and the Board of Education said it aims to make a final decision in the next few days.
What makes you an ideal candidate for our school system?
ME: Moving forward, I would want to keep close ties with my colleagues to see what is working in other districts. How do we get the most effective methods applied in the district? What needs to take place? These are all questions I would be asking. I want to have open lines of communication with teachers and parents—seeking feedback often.
PG: I have the ability to be open-minded, collaborate and put the focus on the students. Everything we do must have the students in mind. When I came to Elmsford, I always went into classrooms and spoke to as many people as possible and quickly learned of the areas that were in need. One of those areas was literacy.
What are your thoughts on how an Assistant Superintendent can support Differentiated Instruction?
ME: It all begins with finding out what works and what doesn't work. Everyone must be on board with the changes that come at a state level and then work to find ways of implementing the necessary strategies in the classroom.
PG: Differentiated instruction is vital. We know now that doing different things for different kids works. It’s important that we take a look at where they are at now and then where we want them to go. It would be nice if every student got an “A” but I think the journey of education is just as important, maybe more important than the “A”.
How will you make meaningful connections with students?
ME: I want to establish a student curriculum committee. I’ll ask them how things are going in the classroom and work with administrators who can select two or three students from each school who can say what is and is not working. Attending student events will also give me an opportunity to connect with students.
PG: I love hanging out with the kids. I started a program called “FAB”--Food and Books. Unlike a book club, each student reads different books and then students can recommend the various books to other students as well as have meaningful conversation about the stories.