The Wantagh School District took a step forward in the search for a new superintendent during Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting at .
The Wantagh Board of Education approved a motion to hire School Leadership, LLC as consultants to “provide search services” in looking for a superintendent. According to the motion, this will cost the district $18,000 “plus expenses including duplicating and mailings.”
“The process is just beginning,” said longtime Board of Education trustee Michael Cucci. “By the end of this school year, we would like to have our candidate and announce it to the public.”
Wantagh's hiring process for a new superintendent comes after Dr. Lydia Begley left her post as school district leader to take a at Nassau BOCES this past October. She had served as Wantagh's superintendent since 2009.
Former Bethpage Superintendent Dr. Richard Marsh is in Wantagh while the board looks for Begley's replacement.
Wantagh Board of Education president William Russack explained that the trustees are planning on meeting with School Leadership, LLC on Monday “to go through the criteria of how we are going to proceed.”
“They have been pretty successful throughout Long Island at getting superintendents,” he said in regards to the consulting firm. “They have a long resume and history of helping many districts achieve their goal.”
Russack said that the district must have a new superintendent in place by June 30, 2012 “by law.” Though budget season and the critical months are coming forward, he said that they hope to have candidates by April or May. Dr. Marsh’s contract expires on June 30.
The school board is planning on holding focus groups where community and school members can give their input in the selection process. Both Russack and Cucci said they “absolutely” want to open up the process to the community, noting the focus groups will provide that type of forum.
Additionally, Russack said they will want input from PTA groups, parents and community leaders to obtain “a general consensus on what type of individual the district should have as a superintendent.”
When meeting with School Leadership LLC on Monday, Russack said that the board will also discuss criteria for the future superintendent.
“We need a seasoned leader, a strong leader – somebody who knows Wantagh’s culture, its educational values and so forth – who is going to continue the academic rigor that we look for our students,” he said of his personal opinions on the qualities the district’s new leader should possess.
“We are looking for a community minded [leader] who is going to bring a lot of rigor to the Wantagh School District,” Cucci said.