This statement was to be delivered in person at the Allegany County Board of Education meeting scheduled for Jan. 7, which was postponed due to weather.

I have conducted or participated in hundreds of searches, from maintenance positions to CFO and CEOs at the Schwab Company, for local nonprofits, at the college level and in one superintendent search for this BOE.

In all, the best practices were utilized. I see the best practice for the current superintendent position as follows.

The first, step is to find an experienced and reputable search firm who has conducted these searches before. You, herein used to refer to the board of education, meets with the search firm to talk about the requirements, the position and what you would want in a person to fill the position.

The firm then puts out the call for resumes — and they put out the call nationwide. Sometimes the firms will screen applicants for you, sometimes you have the option to see all applicants.

It depends upon how the firm works and how much time you have, or want to give.

From the applicants, the best six to eight are chosen and a phone or, now, a video interview can be held. From there, three to four of the best applicants are chosen for on-site interviews.

These on-site interviews consist of an interview with the board and sessions with various constituent groups.

These constituent groups could include, but need not be limited to: system teachers and staff, parents, students, community business people, community leaders, nonprofit groups that interact with the schools, and other organizations impacted by the school system.

Each of these constituent groups is asked to answer the same questions about each candidate and then rank the candidates. With the guidance of the search firm, all of this information is put together, presented to you and then the choice is made.

It is perhaps a bit late to begin this process for this year, so it is possible Jeff Blank Blank’s interim position could be extended for one year so that this process could be completed in its entirety.

Through a process such as this, you will have done your due diligence in finding the best person for the position. If it turns out a local person is selected, then you have done a thorough search.

If it turns out someone from out of the area is selected, then it is incumbent upon you, as the Board and the person’s employer, to welcome that person and work with them to make our schools the best they can be.

Our schools and everyone involved with the schools and our community, deserve nothing less.

Betsey Hurwitz-Schwab


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