Update on Superintendent search

A message from Monticello Board of Education President, Lori Orestano-James 

One of the few explicit responsibilities of a school board is the hiring and evaluation of a superintendent. We take that responsibility very seriously. 

In early fall, the District issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking responses from individuals or firms interested in assisting with our search efforts. The Board met with respondents to the RFP in October, and subsequently moved to hire the Western New York Educational Service Council (WNYESC), located at the University of Buffalo, to assist us in our search efforts at a special meeting on November 4, 2019.  

That evening, the Board met with WNYESC’s consultants, Drs. Thomas Ramming and Teresa Lawrence, to map out the superintendent search timeline and process. I am pleased to provide the community with this update. 

The Board feels it is critical to obtain community input about the desired characteristics of the next superintendent and the challenges and opportunities that they will encounter. 

To that end, an online survey will be posted on the District’s Superintendent Search Webpage from November 15 through December 6. During that time period, we strongly encourage everyone from all stakeholder groups to respond and provide their input. The survey will be available in English and Spanish, with other languages available upon request. We encourage everyone to fill out a survey once.  

In addition, the consultants will meet with stakeholder focus groups on Monday, November 25. More information about those meetings will be shared here shortly.  

The Board has carefully weighed the option of conducting an open versus a closed search. With an open search, the finalists are typically interviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from the community, parents, students and staff. In a closed search, the Board seeks stakeholder input with regard to the characteristics and qualifications for the next superintendent of schools and then works to ensure the confidentiality of the candidates while taking into account the input received from the stakeholders. 

The Board wants to ensure that the search draws a very strong field of successful candidates and understands that confidentiality is critically important for highly successful candidates who do not want to jeopardize their current positions. Therefore, after thoughtfully and carefully deliberating the issue, the Board modified the closed search option which will still allow the ultimate goal of the search to be achieved and unanimously decided to conduct a closed search.  

As such, it is imperative that community members and stakeholders respond to the survey. Stakeholders should speak with their representatives, who will be meeting with the consultants on November 25. A list of representative groups will be available online shortly. We welcome everyone to the open session in the evening on this same day and encourage everyone to complete the online survey by December 6. 

Our goal is to appoint a new superintendent in March of 2020, with a start date on or before July 1, 2020. 

Thank you for your input and interest in this process. Please check the District’s Superintendent Search webpage for ongoing updates. 

If I can answer any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email (lorestanojames@k12mcsd.net) or call 845 794-7700 ext. 70523 and leave a message with the District Clerk. 


With Monti Pride, 
Lori Orestano-James 
President, MCSD Board of Education 
Class of 1981