The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

SHSD continues superintendent search

Maria Stephani
Somerset Hills School District Home Page, where administrative staff and personnel can be found.

The search for a new Somerset Hills Regional School District superintendent is well underway.

The search began with the announcement of the resignation of superintendent, Dr. Gretchen Dempsey, on September 21, 2022, effective February 6, 2023. The Board of Education is now faced with the task of finding a new superintendent to replace Dempsey.

A week after Dr. Dempsey’s resignation, the board began the search for her successor, unanimously voting Hazard Young Attea (HYA) Firm to head the project.

“Hiring a Superintendent is one of, if not the most important job a Board of Education is responsible for completing,” says Board President, Heather Santoro.

The search for a new superintendent is a four-phased process. The phases are as follow: Engage, recruitment, selection, and transition.

The first part of the four-part process is the engage phase, which began almost immediately after Melissa Browne of the HYA was hired. During this first phase, the HYA gathered information about community through town meetings, focus groups, and surveys. Data collected during the engage phase was used to create a leadership profile, which was submitted to the board on November 14th.

“We were glad to have input from so many representatives in our community,” says Heather Santoro, “including students, and we are getting a lot of interest in the position.”

During part two of the four-part process, the recruitment phase, which is the phase we are currently in, candidates, who match the leadership profile, apply for the position. Applicants are screened, interviewed, reference checked, and eventually ranked based on how closely they match the leadership profile. The application process will continue until January 15th, 2023. The top ten to twelve candidates will be presented by the new Board of Education the second week of February with another round of interviews the first week of March.

The selection, which is the third phase of the process, is expected to take place by the end of March.

The selected candidate has time to finish the contract with his or her current employer and take office by July 1st, in time for the 2023-2024 school year. This is the final phase of the process, the transition phase.

With Dr. Dempsey leaving office on February 4th and the new superintendent not coming until July 1st, an interim superintendent must be hired to fill the gap. At the December 14th meeting, the board welcomed Dr. Lydia Furnari to fill that position. Previously, Furnari served as an interim superintendent for Verona public schools and Lafayette public schools before that. She has worked as a teacher and administrator for 37 years in New Jersey schools.

According to Heather Santoro, “the process is going very well and as planned to date….We look forward to completing the next phases and are confident that we will hire a Superintendent that will be a strong, dynamic, engaging leader.”

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