Board takes first steps; chooses interim option, sets schedule
The Granville Board of Education met twice last week, taking two steps towards hiring a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Daniel Teplesky.
A number of questions faced the board in the wake of Teplesky taking the position of Superintendent in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District, including when to hire and what to do in the mean time.
Following executive session Tuesday night, the board announced two key preliminary decisions in the process: an interim superintendent will be hired and a timeline has been established for the replacement hiring.
Board members approved hiring an interim superintendent, a move recommended to allow them time to conduct a thorough search.
BOCES Superintendent Dr. John Stoothoff met with the board to advise them during the process, offering advice on the many options available.
“The bottom line is whatever the board wants, the board should get, but first you need to agree,” he said.
Stoothoff presented the board with timeline options that included trying to put a new superintendent in place by Sept. 1, Dec. 31 or March 1, 2010.
The first option, Stoothoff said, would leave no time for community involvement and would limit the scope of the search.
“That’s no problem,” board member John Shaw quipped, referring to the timeline. “There are a lot of people out there on the street who say they can do the job and they’d be a lot cheaper.”
The second option also limited the amount of community involvement in the process but allowed for a longer duration search, Stoothoff said.
The option Stoothoff said he would “really recommend” involved waiting until March 1 to name Teplesky’s replacement.
“We don’t want to wait nearly that long,” board member Pam Tatko said.
“I recommend the board just take a deep breath, step back and proceed in measured steps. I really think that the most important thing a board can do is hire a chief executive officer,” Stoothoff said.
During discussion Stoothoff continued to emphasize how much work remained for the board, including determining a residency requirement, salary parameters and how difficult it would be to press it all into the shorter duration timelines.
Stoothoff explained his rationale for the recommendation and swayed board members, who later voted 8-0 to approve the timeline.
Tatko said she was concerned about the reception and response a superintendent designated as an interim would receive while employees “waited for their real boss to show up.”
Stoothoff said he thought having a professional, someone who moves from interim job to interim job for a living, would know how to deal with situations like that and would represent a fresh set of outside eyes on the district as well as a teammate for the new hire. “You want someone who’s going to find the Corporal Klingers,” Stoothoff said, referring to the M.A.S.H. character who was known for being uncooperative with superior officers. He suggested that might even be an interview question for a potential interim – how would you deal with that kind of situation?
The advantages of the move also included pay, he said.
“When these guys aren’t working, you’re not paying them,” Stoothoff said, adding they also did not receive benefits just per diem pay.
Another option for the board, Stoothoff said, was to look at a short list of candidates the BOCES chief knew who were “just dying” to be a superintendents, including some who made the “short list” for recent openings at Cambridge and Schuylerville.
On the subject of a timeline, board member Ron Daigle said he thought the board should get used to the fact the search was going to take some time.
“We need to settle on that and then go and get a really good superintendent,” he said. Daigle said he thought even with the best candidates lined up and waiting, something they did not already have, there would not be enough time to line someone up for the job given the length of the interview process and notice a successful candidate must provide after being offered the job.
Citing a number of changes that have taken place in the district since hiring Teplesky, board member John Steves said he thought several changes were needed in the brochure to be sent out to prospective candidates.
“I assume someone looking at the job would be interested in that,” he said.
Board member agreed but said the change to the pamphlet could be handled fairly quickly. While the brochure had only been prepared electronically last time, Stoothoff said technology advancements since 2004 allowed the district to send the entire file electronically now, one piece of the puzzle which could go faster.