By Meghan McCaffrey CONTRIBUTING WRITER
---- — Cherry Valley-Springfield School District remains eager to find a permanent Superintendent for their district. Three candidates met with teachers, administrators, the Board of Education, parents, students and community members on Tuesday.
Mark Flower, of Long Island; Tim Ryan of Norwich and Larry Spangenburg of Falconer spoke at length about their strengths and what they would bring to CV-S.
Flower, who presented first, said that he began his career in the business of manufacturing and even obtained a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering. After being downsized he said he realized he wanted to focus on a career working with people.
Flower went back to school in order to be certified to teach Middle School Technology Education and Chemistry and later earned his certificate to be an administrator. He has served as the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance in the Levittown School District for the past 8 years.
“This would be a great place for me to make a difference,” he said about Cherry Valley. “This is a beautiful place to live but you still have challenges.”
He noted the declining enrollment and the gap between property tax and the cost of education as some of the major difficulties facing CV-S.
Flower also said that he has developed a data driven strategic plan for CV-S and plans to utilize that to drive the district forward.
He said that it’s important for teachers to use the “time on task” approach to utilize all of their time to teach the students.
One of the primary topics discussed by all three candidates was the shift to common core education in New York State.
“I look at common core as a shift in the way that teachers present information,” Flower said. “Teachers need to dig deeper now.”
“The tests provide a benchmark against other students and other schools. The challenge is that there’s too much focus on the tests,” Flower continued.
Ryan, who has been the principal of the Kindergarten-2nd grade elementary school in Otego for 10 years, said he tries to be supportive of the teachers during this stressful time in education.
“My doors always open so teachers can vent,” Ryan said. “These new common core modules are very hard.”
He said the stress in school “trickles down to students” and he tries to eliminate the stress as possible so that students can still have fun.
Ryan also emphasized that he believes very strongly in communicating with parents about what is going on in the school. He utilizes technology such as the school website to make announcements and a school bulletin to check in with parents to see if they have questions he said.
“When you give people a voice it makes them more engaged,” Ryan said.
He also talked about how successful his Parent Teacher Organization has been at fundraising for field trips. He said he would like to help and support a PTO in the CV-S school.
Ryan said he would bring consistency and longevity to the superintendent position if he were hired.
“I would also like to celebrate what you are doing well,” Ryan said.
The last candidate to speak was Larry Spangenburg, who has served as the elementary principal and district data coordinator in Falconer for the past 10 years.
Spangenburg said he is looking to work in a small district like the one he currently works in, so he can get to know the students and their families.
“I treat all the kids like they’re my own,” he said.
“If hired here I’m here for the long run. I think it’s very important to live in the district that you are an administrator in,” Spangenburg continued.
Spangenburg said that he is very involved in his current community and school. When he has meetings with parents he has teachers take attendance. If certain parents aren’t there he calls them to fill them in and sometimes makes home visits.
“I think it’s very important to communicate with parents. I use the school website and I’ll meet with parents in person,” he said.
Spangenburg said that he has a “vison to change the communication” at CV-S.
“I’m about the collaborative approach so that people understand the vision and can participate in the vision,” Spangenburg explained.
All three candidates said that they would move into the community if hired as they see being part of the community essential to the job of being superintendent.
There is a Board of Education meeting on October17 at 7 p.m. to discuss the 3 candidates and the potential appointment of the superintendent.