As we all know by now, the Superintendent of the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow school district will be leaving his position at the end of the current school year. The school board is actively scouting for his replacement. As part of the process, the Board hired a consulting group who posted a survey on the school website. The survey was rather short and limited, and provided little opportunity for the community to really express what they would like in a new Superintendent.
So I thought I'd pose the question here. What kinds of qualities would you like to see in the next Superintendent?
We can probably all take away many positives from the tenure of the current Superintendent, Howard Smith, and I'm sure these will all be duly celebrated as the year progresses. At the same time, I'm sure we all also have issues of ongoing concern.
For me there are three main priority areas.
First, quality of teaching. As parents, we know there are many great inspirational teachers in the district. At the same time, there is also a quality drop beyond this group. I hear from many parents that they have to campaign to get their kids into the right classes, with the right teachers, and that a year spent with a mediocre one will often lead to a year of lowered grades and missed opportunity. At any workplace there will be a range of skills, but I believe raising the bar across the board should be a priority for the new Superintendent.
Related to this is the focus of the administration. More and more over the last couple of years I've heard stories of principals and assistant principals being resistant to parent concerns. They are brushed away as if the problems are not real or exaggerated. This issue seems to be more apparent the further in the school system you go.
And lastly, but not leastly, athletics. While I believe the school has phenomenal arts programs across the board that not only push the students, they encourage broad participation -- athletics is often a very poor relative. The facilities, coaching and administration of the athletics programs just seems to lack the quality that a school of this size should warrant.
I'm sure there are many other ideas on this, but I thought I'd share those as a few initial provocations.