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Chappaqua Principal Searches Down to Final Five

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The ongoing principal searches at Roaring Brook Elementary School and Horace Greeley High School are entering the final stages, school officials said.

Private interview committees have narrowed the candidates down to three at Roaring Brook and two at Horace Greeley.

“We feel they are very strong candidates and we are very pleased to have those candidates emerge as a result of the committee’s work,” said Superintendent Lyn McKay.

The committees are comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and students. There are 14 members on the Horace Greeley committee and 12 on the Roaring Brook committee. All have signed confidentiality agreements.

“At this point confidentiality is extremely important,” said McKay. She did not release specific information about the candidates, including whether any in-house candidates remain.

Horace Greeley’s committee began the interview process on Jan. 18 and Roaring Brook began on Jan. 25. Both committees will hold a second-round of interviews within the week.

The second-round is an 11-hour day in which the candidates will meet with the Board of Education, students, teachers, support staff, parents and administrators.

“That is an intense process for each candidate to go through,” said Westorchard Principal Jim Skoog, who is facilitating the Roaring Brook interview committee. Candidates will also be asked to provide an on-demand writing sample during the process.

Any candidates remaining after the second round will be invited back for walk-throughs on Feb. 7 at Horace Greeley and Feb. 13 at Roaring Brook.

“Whereas people continue to emerge through the process, they will literally walk through the building having conversations with the students and superintendent,” said Paul Citarella, interim assistant superintendent for human resources.

After posting advertisements for both positions in The New York Times on Dec. 11, Roaring Brook received 197 applications and Horace Greeley received 147 applications. Fifty-six currently-employed principals from other schools applied for the Roaring Brook position.

"You can see the draw of Chappaqua," said Skoog. While most applicants were from the tri-state area, some lived in Florida and Arizona.

Before beginning the interview process, administrators held focus groups with parents, students and staff and asked what qualities they were looking for in candidates.

“They helped us formulate questions and helped the process move forward so we had a sense of who we were looking for,” said Citarella.

According to Citarella, recommendations for the openings at both schools may be brought before the Board of Education as early as its next meeting on Feb. 28.

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