ICC fills one seat only to face new vacancy

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education appointed Daniel Cohn to fill a vacancy on the board at a special meeting Tuesday. But at the same session the board announced that there is now another vacancy to fill.

Board member Tracy Farrell resigned from the board due to work commitments, according to board President Anthony Welcome.

After the September 20 special meeting, Mr. Welcome confirmed that the board will reach out to one of the two other candidates who applied for the vacancy Mr. Cohn was appointed to fill, to see if that candidate wants to be considered to fill the new open seat.

John Chandler resigned from the board last month. The board asked for applications from interested residents for the open seat. Mr. Cohn, Michael Stead and Branden Caluneo applied. The board met with the three candidates earlier this month and decided to appoint Mr. Cohn, a local minister who also works for the IRS and has children who attend district schools.

Now that Ms. Farrell has resigned, a vacancy the board was made aware of over the weekend, the board hopes to appoint a new member to the seat that expires on May 16, 2017. Mr. Cohn will also serve only until next May.

Mr. Welcome did not say at the meeting which of the two candidates the board was considering appointing.

The board also met with representatives from Questar III/BOCES about the search for a new district superintendent. Current Superintendent George Zini, who as not at the meeting, plans to leave the district at the end of his contract in June 2017. The district used Questar to conduct the search that led to the hiring of Mr. Zini almost four years ago. The district had an interim superintendent for two and half years before that. Prior to choosing Mr. Zini the board rejected a round of candidates.

Questar III District Superintendent Gladys Cruz talked to the board about the superintendent search process and what Questar III can offer, including a candidate search with statewide reach.

Ms. Cruz warned the board that there is a shortage in candidates for education jobs. “There is not a line of people,” she said of people looking for the position of superintendent.

“Some districts are considering internal candidates,” she told board.

Board member Matthew Nelson asked to table a vote on hiring Questar to conduct the search so that the board can look at other options. He said he felt the board had not been presented with any other companies that conduct job searches. “I just want to make sure we explore that fully,” he said.

Board member Jeffery Ouellette agreed with Mr. Nelson, saying that that Chatham School District is also conducting a superintendent search with the assistance of a private consultant. He also mentioned search consultants in other districts that he said “really engage the community.”

There was discussion about timing and starting the search as soon as possible, with Mr. Nelson asking the board to postpone action on the search until the next board meeting in October.

When Mr. Welcome called for the vote, Mr. Ouellette and Mr. Nelson voted against hiring Questar III. Board member Regina Rose initially abstained but then changed her mind and voted in favor of hiring Questar III, making it five votes for versus two against.  The measure required five votes for adoption.

Mr. Nelson said of his no vote, “I want to have a bigger picture.”

“Thank you for the opportunity,” said Ms. Cruz. The board plans to meet about the search again on September 30.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, October 4 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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