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Update: White Says District Has Selected New Superintendent

By Staff


VWhite(Update, June 6): Rochester City School District School Board President Van White has announced RCSD is currently negotiating the terms of a contract with its new superintendent.

White reportedly said the district will make an announcement regarding the hiring in the next two weeks.

The RCSD was using a closed-door process to conduct its search for a new superintendent, in order to find the best possible candidates for the position, according to White. 

(From May 17) – Although the Rochester City School District Board of Education has continually said it has no plans to reveal potential candidates for RCSD’s superintendent position, anonymous sources have given the Minority Reporter the names of possible candidates for the role who have a connection to the Rochester community.

Some of the candidates who are reportedly being considered for the position include Altmar-Parish-Williamstown (APW) Central School District Superintendent and former RCSD deputy superintendent Anita Murphy; former RCSD Chief of Human Capital Initiatives Michele Hancock; Brockport Central School District Superintendent Lesli Myers; RCSD teacher and administrator Josh Mack; and RCSD’s current Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Christiana Otuwa.

Former district chief of staff Kim Dyce-Faucette has also been rumored to have been a candidate for the position, but sources have said she’s reportedly pulled her name from the pool.

In addition, RCSD School Board President Van White, and other school board members, have recently come under fire for using a closed-door process to find possible candidates for the position.

Some community members have said it’s been unusual for the district to deviate from its former method, which has typically included a more open process, and one in which board members have revealed a short list of candidates, then held a town-hall style meeting for public review.

However, White said the board’s previous process hadn’t yielded results.

“If you look at the last two superintendents, while it is a complex analysis, one cannot say that a transparent, open process yields us long service from superintendents, or positive results,” he stated.

In fact, according to White, the district’s open process in the past may have been the reason for its failure.

“If you keep on doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, that’s the definition of insanity,” he stated. “Well, we were continually doing the same thing.”

White said the district’s pool of candidates are currently among some of the best he’s ever seen, and, he believes the reason for that is because the board has decided to use a search firm with a closed process.

“First, there was no evidence, anecdotal or direct, that having it open produced any positive benefit,” he stated. “Second, we looked at the counsel of our search firm, and they suggested that, while it may take some courage for a board to do it, it is the best way to ensure that your pool is competitive. If potential candidates are exposed that ‘they’re interested in the job in Rochester;’ they could jeopardize their current jobs. Professionals don’t necessarily want their colleagues, or supervisors, to know they may be looking for work elsewhere. So, if you eliminate that exposure, you may get a broader, more experienced pool of candidates.”

White said he and the other school board members presently agree the district’s pool of candidates for the position are “exceptional.”

And, as a result, he said it’s time for RCSD to break away from the norm.

“It’s become somewhat of a practice, a habit, a tradition,” White stated. “But, you have to examine the value of tradition, and whether it helps you achieve your strategic goals. And, only time will tell whether this practice produces the desired result.”

According to White, the district still plans to announce its final candidate in June.

“We’re getting ready to do our second set of interviews for the finalists,” he stated. “And, I can tell you, we could pick any one of these people tomorrow. And, so, we’re in good shape in terms of timing.”

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