CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- In his first public outreach since being appointed as Chappaqua's interim schools superintendent, Daniel McCann invited parents to meet him over the coming weeks, either in small groups or individually.
McCann also announced that he will visit each school board and that he will hold morning coffees with parents.
The veteran school administrator - his career took him to top positions in Hendrick Hudson, Tarrytown and Pleasantville - has assumed Chappaqua's top post due to Lyn McKay's upcoming retirement.
McKay's departure, which takes effect on Jan. 2., was announced by the school board on Halloween. While no public reason was given, McKay's exit comes after calls from parents for her ouster over her handling of the sex-abuse case regarding former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel.
Previous coverage of Schraufnagel can be read here.
Below is a full copy of McCann's letter, with italics added for visual clarity:
December 7, 2016
Dear Chappaqua School Community,
Greetings! By this time you know I have been selected as the Interim Superintendent for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year. I am excited by the opportunity to work in Chappaqua. The school community has been gracious, welcoming, and committed to providing students an engaging and challenging academic experience.
An "Entry Plan" will assist me in getting to know about your schools in a relatively short period of time. I want to learn what you care most about, take pride in, aspire to, and worry about, in order to plan our work together. My work this winter will be to get to know Chappaqua as fully as possible outside the daily context of problem solving. Current initiatives and key issues in the schools' past will focus our work for this year and beyond.
In order to learn about the Chappaqua Schools as viewed through the eyes of those who contribute to the well-being of students, I would like to meet with you individually or in small groups over the next several weeks. I am reaching out directly to the Board of Education, administrators, coordinators, department chairs, parent leadership, community members, and student leaders. I plan to visit each school for several days over the next few months. Morning and early evening "coffees" will be set-up for parents and members of the community. I need to learn what is working well, what support is needed, where schools encountered difficulty, and how to proceed in the future. Anything one wishes to share in confidence will remain so. These "interviews" will provide needed background and the rationale for our work together.
It is essential for me to get "caught up" as soon as possible in order to address or resolve tasks and issues in a timely manner. I will share a synopsis of my meetings with all of you.
I have been asked by the Board of Education not to simply maintain, but to move Chappaqua forward as a district. Frankly, I do not know any other way to lead. The greatest successes in education occur when the school community works together as a team. We are in the midst of budget season, there are academic initiatives to nurture, and a major building plan to implement.
I look forward to being part of the Chappaqua School District.
Enjoy the holidays!
"We will need the best of many, not just a few. We must strive for excellence."
~ Robert F. Kennedy, 1963