When the Rochester City School District Board of Education selected its last two superintendents, it held public forums with the finalists. Citizens got to meet and question the candidates for the top job.
That won’t happen this time around.
The school board is conducting a closed search. It whittled down the pool of applicants last week. Interviews start today.
Board President Van White won’t even say how many candidates the board is interviewing.
“Because we decided to have a closed search, I think that increased the pool of qualified candidates. I think we have what I would describe and my colleagues would describe a very qualified pool of candidates. I’m very excited about them. Some of them were internal. Some of them are external,” White said. “We felt maybe if we tell the candidates they won’t be disclosed, they won’t be outed, more might apply.”
“If somebody wants to hedge their bet that much, that I’ll only apply if no one knows I’m applying, I’m not sure that’s somebody that’s that committed to being in Rochester,” said Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski. “The process that’s being announced is a major departure from what this board of education has done in the past and I think people have the right to know why. Why is it a closed process and what’s the big secret?”
The search committee asked stakeholders, including parents, staff and the mayor what they want to see in a superintendent. But Eileen Graham, who has two children in city schools, says that’s not enough.
“We should be involved in the process, before we get to the finalists, before this person just appears in our district,” Graham said.
The school board hopes to select a superintendent by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.