Recently hired T/E Personnel Director proactively sought community input in superintendent search in her last position … Will her approach work here?

As was noted in comments received on the last post, there are those that have supported Dr. Waters tenure as superintendent in T/E where others are questioning his salary and benefit package.  Regardless of how people personally feel about Waters, his time remaining on the job is winding down – a little over a year left on his contract.  The discussion needs to shift and focus on the future and the process for hiring his replacement.

T/E’s newly hired Director of Personnel, Jeanne Pocalyko, has background and experience in conducting a successful superintendent search.  In her last position as the Human Resources Director for the Dallastown Area School District (DASD), Pocalyko along with DASD school board members, took a ‘community engagement’ approach in their superintendent search.  After their successful DASD superintendent search, the group presented ‘Community Engagement for a Successful Superintendent Search’ this past October at the PA School Board Association leadership conference, providing an overview of how to proactively engage the community in the superintendent search process.

The complete DASD presentation is available on their school district website (click here to read). The DASD superintendent search process was comprehensive – using as much stakeholder input as possible, resulting in a process that was fair and open for the community.  The public was provided with status reports throughout the process.

According to the report, it appears that T/E and Dallastown school districts share some similarities – 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school and student enrollment of slightly more than 6,000. In addition, DASD also has a charter school and an ‘alternative education academy’.  With the recent hiring of Pocaylko in the T/E School District, I was interested in how she and the DASD designed their approach to finding a new superintendent.

The DASD superintendent search process spanned four months and involved over 150 house of Committee member time.  The Committee was comprised of 4 school board directors and the human resource director (Pocaylko). The Committee developed the process using much stakeholder input, estimating that approximately 1,100 District stakeholders participated in the search.  The initial search process included stakeholder survey, stakeholder input meetings and advertising of opening.

The stakeholder survey conducted was an online confidential survey, where respondents were asked to selected their top 5 skills and traits of a superintendent and allowed for comments. (Received 700+ responses). This is the summary table of what the respondents viewed as the top 5 skills and traits required in a school district superintendent:

Superintendent Traits

The stakeholder meetings included separate meetings with administrators, teachers, support staff, students and the community.  The Committee also met with 4 retired York area superintendents. The data and information obtained was used to develop screening questions for use during the interview process.

The Committee pre-screened the applicants and conducted three rounds of interviews.  After developing questions based on the information provided by the stakeholders, the Committee conducted the Round 1 interviews.  The Round 2 interviews were conducted by a representative combined group of 30 people – administrators, teachers, parents, support staff, students, community and committee members. The DASD Board conducted their own Round 3 interviews and reviewed the results of the group interview. The decision process included the compilation of stakeholder feedback, interview results and comments from each interview round, reference checks and the school board’s consideration of district needs and input from the Committee.

The final determination and selection of the new Superintendent remained the responsibility of the full School Board. After the superintendent selection process was complete, DASD released a ‘summary report’ to the public.

I would encourage members of the T/E School Board to utilize the expertise and experience of Ms. Pocalyko as they begin the superintendent search for Dan Waters replacement.  Reading the various files on the Dallastown Area School District website concerning their superintendent search showed the value in utilizing and encouraging community input and providing an open, transparent process.

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  1. This is encouraging information. I would hope that this experience would have factored into the Board’s decision to hire Ms Pocalyko. I would suspect that we would look for similar general skills and traits; I wonder what TE constituents would cite as factors specific to our district. It would be interesting to know how the newly hired Dallastown Superintendent is working out.

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  2. You use the term ‘successful’ a few times in relation to her past hiring practice.

    How are you measuring success?

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Proactively seeking and including input from all stakeholders in the superintendent search process — teachers, parents, students, staff, residents, board, etc. translates (to me) as a successful hiring strategy. DASD took this approach and believed it was important to keep the public engaged and regularly updated during the search process — personally, I think that is a measurement of success.

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  3. I’m just curious in her last school district were the aides, paras, kitchen workers, custodial, maintenance, and secretaries all employed by the district itself or by outsourcing companies?

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I think that kitchen staff and maybe transportation employees were outsourced under her tenure.

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  4. Do you know if here last school district employed the aides, paras, custodians, maintenance, kitchen workers , and secretaries? Or were they hired by outsourcing companies?

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Kitchen workers and transportation workers were outsourced if I recall correctly.

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