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Search For Scarsdale Schools Chief Moves Forward Following Survey

Scarsdale is searching for a replacement for Schools Superintendent Michael McGill who will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.
Scarsdale is searching for a replacement for Schools Superintendent Michael McGill who will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – With longtime Superintendent of Schools Michael McGill set to retire at the end of the academic year, the Scarsdale School District has continued to move forward on its search for his replacement.

Earlier this year, the district sought the opinion of the community in determining the essential qualities the new superintendent ought to possess. There were 742  responses from residents to an online survey, the results of which were released this week.

The bulk of the responders (488 of the 742) were residents with children in the district. 177 teachers cast their vote, while 79 students, administrators and members of the support staff participated.

According to the report, the biggest hurdles a new superintendent will face include assisting the school board in explaining Scarsdale’s innovative approaches, communicating the new Common Core Learning Standards and improving integration and use of technology in schools.

The school and village community alike decided that candidates for the position should have both administrative and teaching experience, as well as experience improving a highly achieving school district. They’re also seeking a candidate that is skilled in labor relations.

Concerns that will face the new superintendent of schools include budgeting within the tax levy cap and attempting to unite a community that voted against the district’s proposed $145 million budget in May. It’s also important to parents that the district continues its stance against the reliance of state mandated tests.

“We have one of the best school districts in the country for a reason. We think outside the box and aren’t confined by the over emphasis of testing,” said Jim Miles, a father of three. “We don’t need our teachers teaching to some test, we need them being innovative and helping our students become more viable adults.”

Having considered the community’s input through the survey, the district will now begin their national recruitment. The job will be posted in The New York Times' Education Week section twice, the American Association of School Administrators and the state’s Council of School Superintendents. Letters are also planned for 1,500 school district and university educators from around the country.

Recruitment is expected to last until the end of February, when the Board of Education will begin initial interviews with candidates. Finalists will be chosen in February and the district will appoint a new superintendent by the end of March.

McGill, a 15-year veteran of the district, announced his retirement in June amid some controversy in the community as a legion of Scarsdale residents called for his resignation. His contract was extended through June 2014 so he could assist the Board of Education in the transition to his successor.

“I’ve had a good run, few regrets and a tremendous admiration for [Scarsdale] and so many of its people,” he said.

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