Search underway fro new superintendent to lead Port public schools

Priya Chainani, Staff Writer

Dr. Kathleen Mooney has been employed by the school district since 2000, when she first worked as a teacher.  She then served in various administrative capacities and was hired as superintendent in 2012.  Her accomplishments during her years as superintendent are extensive, and include upgrading the technology and facilities at the schools, enhancing safety precautions, and improving the school curriculums.

With Dr. Mooney announcing her decision to retire after the end of the 2018-2019 school year in early December, the search for a new superintendent is now actively underway.  The extensive process currently taking place is a “confidential search,” which ensures that any interested applicants do not risk losing their current positions.

The district made the decision to hire Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), an education consulting firm, to find suitable candidates for the position.  This agency had also previously been selected by the Manhasset School District during their own search for a superintendent.

“They are very impressive, have tremendous experience, and are very good listeners,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.

On March 12, there was a community forum to discuss the search progress thus far.  HYA is expected to present a leadership profile report to the Board of Education based on website surveys and responses from community members, students, and faculty.  The search firm intends to select a group of qualified candidates for the Board of Education to consider sometime this month.   

“While we don’t really interact with the superintendent, I hope the behind-the-scenes work is all towards bettering our school district,” said sophomore Sophie Penson.

The Port Washington community hopes to find a candidate for the superintendent position who deeply understands teaching and works collaboratively with all district employees. Many teachers hope that the new superintendent can maintain and maybe even enhance these relationships.

At this point, various meetings have been held between HYA and faculty, parents, students, and administrators with the purpose of assessing what qualities people want in a superintendent.

Students asked about what they would like to see in the new superintendent had various responses.

“I think they need someone who is qualified, has been a teacher for many years, and thus understands students’ needs,” said junior Ross Lauterbach.

The new superintendent is expected to be selected by mid to late spring, and the selected individual will officially take over the position on July 1, 2019.

“It’s always important for students to be heard,” said senior Jolie Bercow.  “It’s easy for students to be dismissed by a group with authority.  The new superintendent must value student’s opinions and it is crucial for our voices to be heard and action to be taken if needed.”