May 20, 2013

BCS Board hopefuls talk successor superintendent


---- — BEEKMANTOWN — Kenneth Maurer, Sr. believes Beekmantown Central School’s next superintendent should be good at strategic planning. 

“They have to be able to articulate the mission and the purpose of the school, create a framework to guide decision-making, develop organizational effectiveness, (and) also be able to do funds assessment (and) allocations of resources,” he said at a recent “meet the candidates” forum hosted by the nonprofit organization United for the Kids. 

There, Maurer and fellow Beekmantown School Board candidates Andrew Brockway and incumbent Ed Marin took turns answering audience questions on various topics, including recruiting a replacement for Superintendent Scott Amo, due to retire this summer. 

Fellow board candidate Michael Hagadornwas unable to attend the event, as he was traveling at the time, and incumbent Richard LaVigne did not respond to the organization’s invitation to participate, according to  United for the Kids Co-founder Holly Sims. 

Maurer told the audience Amo’s replacement should also be able to “set school priorities, build community support and involvement, analyze critical issues, (have) greater accountability of finances and make financial projections for the future.”

Marin says a superintendent should have a clear understanding of what’s important for education and have a strong business sense. 

And that person must have leadership skills. 

“That’s really really important, because at the end of the day, the superintendent is the one at the helm that’s driving this ship, and that person has to be able to integrate all the academia, sports, business people, the community … and that person also has to be effective with the board.” 

Brockway would like to see somebody at the helm who knows “what it’s like in this area to live on a limited budget … just somebody that’s willing to come in with an open mind ... (and) fully invest themselves in understanding the problems that each group faces and trying to get the best solution that everyone can live with and not foster an environment where it’s teachers versus taxpayers.”

The candidates also talked about the possibility of sharing a superintendent with another district. 

Brockway will serve on BCSD’s superintendent search committee and imagines the idea of a shared leader will be discussed.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said.  “You have to look at the logistics of it and see if it would be productive or not.”

The topic, Maurer noted, has been discussed at recent School Board meetings. 

“One of the obstacles, I believe, that was brought up was the size of the school, the number of students, compared to the school that we might integrate into, (and) whether or not a superintendent could handle the load of both schools, or would we have to make an assistant superintendent,” he said. 

Marin noted that the board has talked extensively about sharing a superintendent. 

“We have to look at the possibility of what other schools we would want to share that shared service with because we are looking at shared services as a whole, not just a superintendent,” he said. 

Email Ashleigh