The Granville Board of Education has narrowed its search for a new school district superintendent to three finalists.
After reviewing applications from a field of more than 20 candidates for the job being vacated by outgoing Superintendent Dan Teplesky and conducting a series of preliminary interviews, school officials say the three finalists will meet with constituent groups at the school Aug. 4, 5 and 6. The daylong vetting process for each finalist will include teachers and staff and students and administrators as well as community members. Those committee volunteers will meet Monday, Aug. 3, for orientation at the Mary J. Tanner Primary School at 7 p.m.
The board was expected to name on Monday night the three finalists who will come to Granville. Following the meeting, however, interim Superintendent Dr. Gregory Aidala said he could not name the three, who will appear in Granville in less than a week, saying they had not yet been notified they had been selected. The following morning Aidala said he was aware of the names but could not provide them, “I can’t release them. I’m not the search coordinator,” he said. The names were expected to be available later Tuesday after he made contact with the Terrence Blanchfield, chief operating officer at BOCES, who is the search coordinator, Aidala said. Blanchfield was in a meeting Tuesday morning and could not be reached for comment.
Board member John Steves said holding back on the names was meant to protect the school district and the candidates, “They could say ‘no,’” he said. The board did not want to release the names of candidates who decide not to appear and the district wanted to allow time for the applicants to notify their current employers, he said.
School officials said 22 completed application packages had been received by the district prior to the July 10 cut-off date. Seven of those applicants came to Granville over the past week for interviews.
Board Vice President John Shaw said he thought the process had gone well.
“We talked to some great candidates; that’s my interpretation,” Shaw said. “I think we’ve got some good ones.”
Shaw said the board met twice during the week and interviewed seven candidates out of the pack of about 21 initial application packages received by BOCES.
“They’ll be in town (in August),” he said.
Asked if he was happy with the applicants, Shaw said: “Yes I am. I’m quite satisfied with the pool; ask me five years from now I might tell you a different story, but I’m quite satisfied.”
Shaw said he was pleasantly surprised with the high quality of the candidates, considering other districts in the region are still seeking superintendents. Fewer openings in the western part of the state might have helped bring good numbers to Granville, he said.
Shaw said he had no preference among the three finalists. “No, not really,” he said. “I’m up in the air; we’ve had some good candidates – if I had to pick right now it would be tough. They’re all very knowledgeable.”
Recently returned from Tajikistan, Board President Kathy Nelson echoed Shaw.
“It’s gone really well. I’m impressed with the quality of the candidates,” she said. “This is my third time through this process and there is a much better pool on the whole, several more really good candidates.”
Nelson said she, too, would have a tough time selecting at this point, so she was looking forward to seeing the candidates interact with the different school groups. The selection process is moving along quickly, she said, something the board was hoping for when it chose to pursue such an aggressive schedule.
Having more candidates available for interviews and unencumbered by school work is working out, Nelson said.
Although some of the candidates have doctorates, Shaw said he didn’t consider that a necessity for the position, “In my opinion it’s not necessary if they’ve got that knowledge; a doctor will just make you pay more,” he said.
Nelson said there are local people among the finalists, but said none of them is from Granville.
Early in the process BOCES chief operating officer Terrence A. Blanchfield told the board he already had six completed applications and more than 20 inquiries. By the deadline that number reached 21.
Nelson said previously that in past searches between three and five candidates were moved forward to tour the school and meet with constituent groups.
Nelson had said if the board was unsatisfied with the number or quality of the candidates the entire process could be extended beyond the current schedule, which has a new superintendent taking office by Nov. 2. It does not appear a lack of candidates will be a factor.