We, the undersigned, are a group of past school board members representing over 40 years of service to the Hastings-on-Hudson schools. We write this letter to express our concern for the well-being of our schools, our children, and our community. As citizens who have all served in elected board leadership roles, we know the critical nature of the decisions that the current board faces — yet another transition to a new school superintendent; the approval of a 2022 school year budget; the oversight of current construction projects; and the overall improvement of our school system. With three school board positions up for election, our village needs civic-minded individuals to step forward and offer themselves as candidates to serve on the board of education. Serving on the board is a very rewarding experience. It feels good knowing you are helping our children and village.
One of the most important roles of a school board is the selection of an educational leader, and that's the district superintendent. It’s a major concern that we have had four different school superintendents in five years. This rapid turnover in educational leadership, if allowed to continue, can only diminish the educational quality of our schools and the broad reputation of our overall community.
We cannot be certain of the causes of this turnover. We honestly don’t know. But we do know that, in the past, our schools enjoyed a long period of stability and positive improvement and we must have that stability again. The board must do an outstanding job in hiring the next superintendent.
Drawing from our past successful experiences as board members, we make the following recommendations:
The hiring process should include, and not be limited to, the use of a search firm or the BOCES district superintendent, if he's available, to help clarify the goals of the district. When a finalist is selected, that person should then be interviewed by a teachers’ group, the PTSA, and selected members of the community before the school board makes its final hiring decision.
We hope this letter will encourage current and future board members to seriously consider our recommendations. We are all rooting for you.