Finalists named, three to visit district
There can be only one; however, for at least this week, there are three.
Terry Blanchfield, BOCES chief operating officer, said his time as the search coordinator has come to an end now that the Granville Board of Education has decided on the finalists for the superintendent position. Blanchfield said the three candidates are all from New York and two come from the region.
The first candidate, alphabetically, is Dr. Paul J. Alioto. Alioto is currently the superintendent of schools at the Clifton-Fine School District near Star Lake, which is located north and east of Watertown, due north of Utica.
Blanchfield said Alioto has been superintendent of the small school district since 2004 and previously worked as the principal at Tupper Lake Middle School from 1996 to 2000 before spending a year at Los Gatos in California. He also spent a year in Beekmantown as an interim athletic director and another year as curriculum director in the town of Webb Union Free School District.
Candidate Mark Bessen currently lives in Queensbury and is the director of administrative services for the Lake George School District. Bessen is the chief information officer for that district, a district-level administrative position, Blanchfield said. Bessen has been in that district since 1997, first as an elementary principal and then in his current position. Prior to that Bessen had been a principal in the Saratoga Springs School District from 1991-1997, first as an assistant and then in the junior high.
The final candidate currently lives in Gansevoort and works as an elementary principal in Schuylerville. Michael Mugits has worked in the Schuylerville school district since 1991. A lifelong educator, Mugits began teaching in 1975 and has worked in Maine and Texas.
“All of the candidates are certified and qualified. It’s a good pool; any one of them could fill the vacancy and would be fine,” Blanchfield said. “This is one of the most important jobs a board has, selecting someone that can lead the district to its next steps.”
The candidates for the position being vacated by departing Superintendent Dan Teplesky will be appearing in the district this week for a full day of meeting people and seeing the district as well as constituent groups.
Board President Kathy Nelson said she was sure none of the board members had made their decision at this point and all planned to use the input from the groups to help inform that choice.
“I’ll probably sit in on some session with some of the different groups,” she said. Nelson said she was curious to see how the candidates reacted during the daylong process.
“We try to gather all of the information we can,” Nelson said, which would include a visit to the finalist’s district before a final decision was made and a contract offered.
The final three were narrowed down from seven candidates interviewed by the board based on criteria such as how much they moved around, how much experience they have and not having their contract renewed at their current position. “That’s kind of a red flag,” Nelson said.
“They all have impressive credential and experience. We’ll see how they interact with the groups,” she said.
The board could make the call on a final choice as early as mid-August with the new superintendent of schools beginning work Nov. 2.
“I know it’s a fast pace but that’s what the board wanted,” Nelson said. “There’s not a mad rush, but it’s good to get things like this settled.”
The board wanted to conduct the process during the summer, thinking it would have more applicants available to participate. That seems to have been the case, Nelson said, because the pool of candidates was larger and those in the pool were highly qualified.
The board received 34 inquires and 22 completed applications. From those, 17 were considered, and seven candidates were brought in to interview in July before the field was narrowed down to three finalists.
The finalists will present their entry plans at 6 p.m. in the library at the Mary J. Tanner primary school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.