Onteora’s superintendent search continues

The search firm hired by Onteora to find a new superintendent will soon be seeking public input and holding stakeholder meetings as it begins to hone in on a field of candidates. A community survey will soon be posted on the district website, onteora.k12.ny.us, and stakeholder meetings via Zoom will be scheduled for November 30, December 1 and December 2.

“They usually last about a half hour, 45 minutes to as much as an hour depending on how many people are on the call,” said Dr. Bill Christiansen of McPherson & Jacobson, during the November 9 School Board meeting. “And then we step in. I just collect that information. Following that, those four meetings and the survey closes, I compile all of the data. And I create one giant document of all of the comments. And then I basically go through them and I look for strands or look for consistencies among the comments, and I really rank the top four to as many as eight characteristics that really jump out at us.” The firm works with the School Board to finalize the top characteristics and then works them into the job description.

The job posting will reach about 30,000 active superintendents and another 30,000 to 40,000 email addresses from those who have signed up for alerts, Christiansen said. While Christiansen and the firm will categorize and rank applicants, the board will still have access to all of them. “I will present all of the candidates. I will do some screening, of course, and help through that process. But the board will have access to all of the applicants that apply. I do not screen anyone out,” Christiansen said. “I simply place the applicants into a couple of categories, ones they think really meet the needs of your district, and ones that really meet the characteristics, and then some others that are maybe on the outside. But again, I can’t stress enough to the board and to anyone else that all applicants are considered.”


The firm will provide relocation assistance to whoever is hired, will help with the transition and also will conduct another search at no charge if the new superintendent does not stay on the job at least two years. “But we do believe in our process, and the reason people stay is because of this transition phase into the district. Not only you welcoming them in, which of course I know you will, but also us being hand-in-hand with them and helping close the gaps.”

Christiansen said he has never personally had to conduct a new search within the two years and the firm has a success rate of better than 90 percent. “So that’s a very high batting average when it comes to superintendencies, especially in this era that we’re in right now,” he said. 

This past summer the School Board appointed Marystephanie Corsones as interim superintendent at $1000 per day to replace Victoria McLaren, who left to become business administrator for the Highland Central School District.

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