RCSD board sets timeline for interim superintendent search

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The Board of Education wants to get the Rochester City School District’s next interim superintendent in as quickly as possible.

“We’ve got to right this ship, we’ve got to make this ship sail right now, because we do not have the time,” Commissioner Camille Simmons said at a board meeting last night.

Board President Cynthia Elliott outlined the timeline, which she called ambitious since it must be accomplished before the end of June. At that time, Superintendent Carmine Peluso will leave for the same position at the Churchville-Chili School District.

The timeline accounts for four to six weeks of onboarding for the incoming interim superintendent by contacting potential candidates April 17-19. Interviews will be conducted on April 27 and a final decision will be made two days later.

Elliott described her ideal candidate as an external hire instead of an internal one, since serving as interim superintendent would invalidate them from taking a permanent position. They would have experience in an urban school district, perhaps a retired administrator who, even better, knows the community already. Educational organization Council For Great City Schools was brought up as a recruiting resource as well.

Board members expressed a need for stability at the highest levels. Commissioner Amy Maloy would like the leadership cabinet to be kept together throughout this process.

Many board members also expressed a wish to include the community, but acknowledged the reality that the interim superintendent search needed to be expedited. Even so, they decided to host a public session an hour before their scheduled business meeting on April 25 to hear from community members.

“There is value in having a forum; not where we’re talking to the public, but where it’s a listening session. We’re listening to their thoughts at that time and we use that information gathered in our own deliberations,” said Maloy. “It might just be community members telling us their thoughts, their frustrations, but we need to listen to that. We need to take it into consideration.”

All members agreed that the permanent superintendent search should be heavily informed by the community. Maloy spoke in favor of being extra transparent and deliberate with that search.

“For the stability of our students, I don’t think we can afford to hurry that process,” she said.

The board members reviewed possible candidates in executive session for another 90 minutes following their public deliberations about the interim superintendent search.

Whoever is selected will be faced with a number of high-stakes challenges, including creating a transition plan for East’s educational partnership organization and an extensive reorganization of school closures and openings.

Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer and data journalist. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

4 thoughts on “RCSD board sets timeline for interim superintendent search

  1. Anyone worth their educational weight and knows the RCSD/RCSB’s history, will not even apply. If they do apply it will be for all the wrong reasons. The RCSB has proven that they are impossible to work with. That life will be miserable from the day the new superintendent punches in.

  2. I must say that sometimes — I just don’t understand what Ms. Camille Simmons is saying. For example, as it relates to the discussion about soliciting community input into the decision to choose an interim superintendent — she stated (while literally pounding on the desk) : “We got to be careful. We have a tight timeline.I’m all for community voice, and that’s why I said earlier like — the meat is really gonna be with whoever the permanent superintendent — that’s where we wanna get that community voice — because that’s where we’re gonna have, and we want to lift it there, but we’ve got to right this ship, and we’ve gotta make this ship sail right now. We do not have time.”

    What??? What does all of that really mean — “meat / make this ship sail???” I must say — some of it sounds like reactionary rhetoric — period. “All for community voice,[but] don’t have time” for ONE community forum during ONE of their already scheduled Board meetings — really??? I do think we have ourselves a classic contradiction (to say the very least). After All, this is concerning a person who they said could be at the helm of the organization for “up to a year,” and regardless of that rhetoric about so-called being “all for community voice” — apparently, she does NOT really care what the community thinks about this — because they have to “make the ship sail” (whatever that means). THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR SUPER-HYPER RHETORIC!!!

  3. I wonder if they already have someone in mind. If they are looking for someone outside the district with administrative experience, understands urban schools, and only wants the job for a short time, the candidate pool can’t be very deep. Maybe there is a consultant like one of the previous monitors who wants to try to right the ship, but the job ahead is daunting and complex, and I doubt it can be accomplished within the defined time frame. I am uncomfortable with this decision.

    • A candidate worthy of considering is Shaun Nelms. He knows the challenges. Unfortunately that might keep him from applying. He knows that whomever takes the position will be a target more than a superintendent. The RCSB will make short work of the next candidate. You have to wonder about just how the outside recruiting consultants will locate the next victim.

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