A former Seaford resident is playing a central role in the Wantagh Board of Education’s search for a new superintendent.
Dr. Charles Fowler, who called Seaford home when he was superintendent of the Hewlett-Woodmere School District from 1997-2004, is president of School Leadership, LLC, a firm the Wantagh Board of Education last month to provide search services to help find its next schools leader.
Wantagh's hiring process for a new superintendent comes after Dr. Lydia Begley left her position as school district leader to take a at Nassau BOCES this past October. Former Bethpage Superintendent Dr. Richard Marsh is while the school board looks for Begley's replacement.
Fowler, who now resides in New Hampshire, and his School Leadership LLC staff have been hard at work this week meeting with numerous stakeholders in the Wantagh School District to determine what qualities they want to see in a new superintendent. The executive search firm has worked with 65 school boards during superintendent searches including in neighboring Levittown last year.
“Part of our work is to bring this district and its background to highly capable school leaders,” said Fowler during a community input meeting attended by 16 people in the Auditorium Wednesday night.
Fowler said the Wantagh school board has indicated to him that past experience as a superintendent is important in the search process given unique challenges the district is facing on issues like the new two percent tax cap and teacher evaluation requirements.
Wednesday night’s community input meeting was one of many Fowler and his staff have planned for this week with various stakeholders throughout the district. Fowler and his team met earlier in the day with teachers, PTA presidents, five students, building principals and the four most recently retired Board of Education members. On Thursday, meetings are scheduled with union leaders and all district clericals.
Wantagh Foundation for Educational Excellence president Barbara Brochstein said during Wednesday’s community input meeting that relations with the organization and school administration have “soured” in recent years and she would like to see that improved with the new superintendent.
“What we need in a superintendent is someone who is willing to listen, who is not set in their ways,” Brochstein said. “We need someone who is flexible in their thoughts.”
Other attendees at Wednesday’s meeting expressed a desire to have a superintendent who is outgoing and makes an effort to be out in the community.
The district in conjunction with School Leadership, LLC has made an online survey related to the superintendent search available to the public that can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/wantagh. The results from the survey will be provided to the Board of Education as it considers the qualifications and priorities to be used in the search.
Fowler said his team plans to submit a list of candidates to the school board who best meet the qualifications they are seeking. He said the school board is hoping to make a superintendent appointment by early April.