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High Expectations for New Greenburgh Schools Super

This story has been corrected to reflect that Woodlands High School Principal Ron Ross is serving as interim superintendent.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Residents, students, board members and community groups have high expectations for the next superintendent chosen to lead Greenburgh School District No. 7.

The results of a Leadership Profile Assessment conducted by Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) in January were presented publicly to the Board of Education and about 25 parents Thursday night at Woodlands High School. Senior associate Marvin Edwards said one of the main characteristics desired is a superintendent who is "everything to all people."

"You want someone that walks on water," Edwards said. "You need someone to be the face of the district and someone who is willing to think outside the box and do what is right. You don't want someone using this place as a stepping stone. You want longevity and stability in your superintendent."

HYA was retained by the district to conduct a thorough search for a new schools superintendent after Sidney Freund, who was given a six-month contract last November to serve as interim superintendent following the retirement at the end of 2011 of Ronald Smalls, had second thoughts and decided not take the $117,613 temporary assignment.

Woodlands High School Principal Ron Ross was named interim superintendent in January. Susan Sciascia, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel, had served briefly as acting superintendent after Freund changed his mind and before Ross was appointed.

"We want someone with a vision," Edwards said. "We're not interested in anyone that's not high quality. A person not afraid of a challenge will be attracted to this district."

One of the most coveted skills mentioned by the 186 individuals interviewed, according to Edwards, was someone who is a strong communicator, media savvy and has high ethical and moral standards.

"There is a strong perception that the media is anti-Greenburgh," Edwards said. "You embrace diversity but at the same time you're cautious about how other people might feel about it. People here care about their schools and you want good schools."

Promoting high standards and raising student achievement is also a high priority in the district.

"This board is very united in that we're looking at academics first and foremost," said school trustee Claudia Glaser.

One parent, Amy Huang, who has two children in the district, expressed concerns about some of the criteria outlined for the next superintendent.

"Are we looking for a politician or an educator? I'm confused," Huang said. "I want to see a plan. We want someone who can come in and take charge. What we need is a focus on the academics. Our kids are very bright, but why are they not achieving."

Edwards responded in saying that they are not looking for politicians. He explained that HYA will spend the next two months sorting through applications and screening potential candidates. Once the list is whittled down to three, the Board of Education will get a chance to see them in action spending a day in the district. An announcement of the board's final choice is expected by the first week of May.

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