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The search begins for a new superintendent


With Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams leaving in just over two months, the Rochester school board has begun the search for two people to replace her: a new superintendent and an interim superintendent who'll run things while the board looks for someone more permanent.

Rochester Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams will leave the district at end of January. - FILE PHOTO
  • Rochester Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams will leave the district at end of January.

Deane-Williams' contract doesn't expire until July, but her relationship with the board has become increasingly strained. And in October, she announced unexpectedly that she would be leaving at the end of January. That gave the board only a short time to find someone to replace her.

The board has already begun setting up interviews with candidates for the interim position, board President Van White said on Monday. "We should have one in place long before Barbara leaves," he said.

There's no target date for when the interim superintendent would start, White said, "but the sooner the better."

Ideally, he said, the interim would be someone already familiar with the district, so candidates may include people currently working in the district. But board members are also reaching out to major education organizations such as the New York State School Boards Association and the Council of Great City Schools.

In looking for permanent superintendents, the school board has often hired a search firm to find and screen candidates. The board issued a Request for Proposals from search firms on November 8, White said, with a November 28 deadline for submissions. The board won't decide whether to hire a firm or conduct the search on its own until after it reviews the proposals it gets, White said.

The search process normally takes 12 to 16 weeks, he said. The board's goal: to have a new superintendent start work in June, giving that person some overlap with the interim.

As it begins that process, the board will be getting a new member, Judith Davis, who was elected in November. Two other members, Beatriz LeBron and Natalie Sheppard, joined the board last January.