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Roaring Brook Parents Talk Principal Search

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Roaring Brook parents met with Superintendent Lyn McKay on Tuesday for the first of many community discussions in the district’s search for a new principal.

Many of the parents said the difficulty in finding now-Assistant Superintendent Eric Byrne's replacement will be finding a candidate who will be able to maintain the school’s sense of community while also bringing his or her own style.

Parents praised Byrne for helping to make the school a “home away from home” for the students. They said that from the custodial staff to administrators, the school felt like a family, which is a value they hope the new principal shares.

“It builds a confidence,” said Karen Visser, Roaring Brook parent and school board member. “That when we leave our children, they’re taken care of. I think that’s the most important part. That they know who we are.”

Another important factor in the hiring process will be finding a principal who plans to be at Roaring Brook for the long-haul.

“Continuuity is really a critical piece,” said McKay. “I’m hearing you. You want someone who is certainly his or her own person who will meet some changes as needed, but the overall picture is you want a good run in terms of the continuuity. And right now, that’s particularly important because the changes at the state level are huge.”

Those changes, according to McKay, will be the introduction of a new review system for teachers and administrators. She said that a big part of the new rating system will be based on test scores. “I want a leader who can take us through that,” said McKay.

The district will officially begin asking for applications on Sunday when an ad for the position will run in the New York Times. The interviews will be a community process, with PTA members and school staff meeting with the candidates themselves. McKay hopes to bring a recommendation before the board by the end of February or the beginning of March.

McKay will continue to hold similar meetings through January in order to find the most qualified candidates for the positions at both Roaring Brook and Horace Greeley High School.  “I’ll hold as many meetings as you want to hold,” said McKay. “I’m going to assure you, we will not settle.”

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