What Do You Want In A ‘Super’-intendent


BY: Andrew Wroblewski

The Northport-East Northport School District’s Class of 2015 will have, what some could say is, an unconventional member: Superintendent Marylou McDermott.

Northport-East Northport Superintendent Marylou McDermott, pictured, is stepping down from the position on July 21, 2015.
Northport-East Northport Superintendent Marylou McDermott, pictured, is stepping down from the position on July 21, 2015.

Serving the district since 2006, McDermott announced on July 21 that she will be leaving her role as superintendent on July 21, 2015 in order to pursue other career options. Now, the district has been tasked with finding her replacement – and the “super” search is well underway, but is also seeking community input.

On Nov. 13 a survey will be posted on the district’s website looking for input as to what qualities the public is looking for in whomever fulfills the open position.

“We hope to get several hundred responses to the survey, which will contain both multiple choice and open-ended responses,” Ellen Best-Laimit – former Babylon superintendent, interim principal in the Elwood School District, and consultant to the district in the current hiring process – said in an update posted Nov. 6 to the Northport-East Northport website. “It’s a great opportunity for community members to share their thoughts.”

The update, posted in a special section titled “Superintendent Search” on the district’s website, comes from members of the district’s hiring consultant team – which includes former or current Long Island school district superintendents or assistants, Peter Scordo, James Ruck, Joe Dragone and Best-Laimit. The group is considering what qualities are necessary for “the next chapter of leadership in the district.” But, Scordo said, the group would also like the district’s stakeholders’ input to serve as a “guiding force.”

“That means we are talking with teachers, non-instructional staff, union members, administrators, and parents to define a commonality of thought on the capacities of the next Northport-East Northport UFSD leader,” Scordo, Elwood school district superintendent, said.

Once input has been received, the survey will be pulled from the website on Nov. 26 to go over the results. On Dec. 3 a community forum will be held to discuss the results; the date of this meeting will be confirmed later on in November.

In the meantime, the hiring team has also been placing advertisements in “various [forms of] education media.” A recruitment brochure has also been electronically distributed to hundreds of administrators throughout New York State.

“We are not merely waiting for professionals to pick up the newspaper or visit a website, though those are certainly vehicles we are using,” Dragone said.

Applications for the position can be submitted by candidates – who possess New York State certification as a school district administrator – to the district no later than Dec. 19. A hire is expected to be made by April 13, 2015.

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, November 13, 2014; A3)


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