Niagara Gazette

April 16, 2013

Niagara-Wheatfield set to hire superintendent

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — According to the district's school board president, Niagara-Wheatfield will have its next, full-time superintendent when next school year begins.

Steve Sabo confirmed the school board will appoint its next leader at its meeting at 7 p.m. tonight inside the Adult Learning Center of the high school, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Lewiston.

Though he didn't release the potential new hire's identity prior to the meeting, Sabo said the board's choice reflects careful consideration concerning needs it feels required addressing, including experience and knowledge in curriculum development.

"Our choice is the best canditate our search identified," he said. "This person has been a superintendent for a number of years. We looked at the parameters the public set at our forums, and identified a sitting superintendent as what fit us best. That's what we went with."

He said the candidate previously worked in curriculum development for 10 years in a Western New York district before becoming a superintendent.

Niagara-Wheatfield has been without a regular leader since former Superintendent Carl Militello retired in February 2011 in the midst of a budget crisis which left the district in shambles. A roughly $7 million deficit resulted in the district raising its tax levy almost 5 percent and eliminating more than 70 full-time positions.

Business Manager Kerin Dumphrey took over in the immediate aftermath of the Militello retirement before the district hired former Iroquois School District Superintendent James Knowles for the current school year. But upon hiring Knowles, Sabo and the rest of the seven-member board began a national search to find a permanent fixture.

Dumphrey has since retired last month. Knowles is expected to complete his term through the remainder of the current school year.

Finding the new boss required a national search, which the district's board elected to hire Student Leadership LLC to conduct.

Sabo said the district initially identified 27 potential candidates for the position before narrowing down its choice to the person they're expected to hire.

While the board is expected to name a new superintendent tonight, it likely won't take action on any budget proposal until next week, Sabo said.

Administrators appear to be a week away from presenting a completed plan, though Sabo said a presentation with potential cuts will be presented as the district tries to close a $1.4 million budget gap. The gap takes into account an assumed 5.91 percent tax levy increase, the maximum New York State's tax levy threshold will allow next year without being overridden.

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.