At its July 6 meeting, the New Paltz Board of Education unanimously selected Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Charles V. Khoury to lead the search for its next superintendent of schools.
“Dr. Khoury has conducted numerous superintendent searches in our region and has been successful in matching communities with the right school leader,” explained Board of Education president Bianca Tanis. “His 49 years of experience in education, including 35 years in educational leadership, provide him with an intimate perspective on the qualities needed to be a successful superintendent. He is also acutely aware of the characteristics and challenges of our school community, which gives him a valuable lens through which he can examine and screen candidates. He understands the urgency of finding the right person to lead our schools and has proposed a comprehensive recruitment plan coupled with a timetable that will quickly yield qualified applicants.”
Khoury’s time to manage the search process is available to component districts at no cost. The associated costs of the development of recruitment materials, advertising and background checks are also eligible for State Aid through an Ulster BOCES cooperative service, which will further reduce the cost to the local taxpayer. A $20,000 budget for these services was established, of which approximately 50% may be reimbursed through State Aid. Advertisements in leading regional and national educational sources and institutes of higher education, as well as sharing with statewide superintendent websites and listservs, along with outreach to prospective candidates who are known to Khoury are among the strategies he plans to deploy to attract applicants. “We will cast a wide net to ensure that we are attracting a diverse and qualified candidate pool for consideration,” explains Khoury.
Khoury plans to initiate the search process with the administration of an electronic survey for all stakeholders to provide feedback on what they feel are the most important characteristics that the next leader of the school district should possess.
In addition, the Board of Education is hosting three casual, community-based feedback sessions, which will allow stakeholders to discuss the search process with Board representatives. Participants can join the Board representatives on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 24 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the New Paltz Middle School courtyard, as well as at the Main Street Bistro on August 1 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
“It is very important to the Board that the community has opportunities to provide input and ask questions about the search process,” explains Tanis. “It is the Board’s hope that these sessions will provide individuals with additional opportunities to add their voice to this important conversation.”
The community survey will be available online and will be open through the end of July. Links to access the survey will be emailed to parents with contact information available in SchoolMessenger, shared with the community via a postcard to all residential postal customers and will be available on the district’s website.
Khoury will analyze the feedback provided and report back to the Board of Education with the results at its August 3 meeting. He will then use this information, along with the extensive community input collected through the surveys and focus groups conducted in 2020, to create a list of desired qualities that the successful candidate should possess. He will screen applicants against these criteria and advise the Board about the relative strengths of each applicant.
The Board will then review each applicant based upon the qualifications and characteristics identified as community priorities and select candidates to interview. Khoury will conduct background checks on these selected candidates. Interviews with the full Board are anticipated to begin in late August, and finalists will be invited for the second round of interviews in September.
Tanis expects that Khoury will have the online application portal set up and ready to accept applications within the next few weeks and anticipates that the Board will complete interviews and be prepared to make a recommendation by the end of October. The hope is that the individual selected will begin their service in January 2023.
“Hiring the superintendent is among the most important decisions our Board of Education makes,” says Tanis. “We are taking this very seriously and will make this our top priority until the best candidate is found.”