School District in “Final Stages” Of Picking New Deputy Superintendent
Thursday, October 18, 2012 • 5:18pm
PATERSON, NJ – Two years ago, Paterson Public Schools Superintendent Donnie Evans conducted a national search to find his deputy superintendent and ended up picking someone from Minnesota for the job.
The $175,000 per year position has become vacant once again with the recent departure of Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, who took the top city schools job in Albany.
But this time, Paterson’s state-appointed superintendent has set his sights on naming someone from the local area as his second in command, according to school board members. “He made it very clear to the board that he was not going to do a national search,’’ said Board of Education President Christopher Irving.
Irving said that two years ago Evans took the preliminary steps of screening local and regional applicants before expanding his search for a deputy nationwide. This time, Irving said, Evans believes he has someone local who can handle the job. Irving said Evans has made his choice, but is awaiting approval from the state Department of Education (DOE) before announcing the decision.
At Wednesday night’s school board meeting, Evans said he was in the final stages of picking a deputy and would discuss the situation with city education commissioners in closed session next month. The district’s spokeswoman, Terry Corallo, has declined to answer most questions about the hiring of a new deputy superintendent until a formal announcement is made.
“The position was posted on our Applitrack system which reaches a larger audience,’’ Corallo said, referring to the district's online job posting system. “Senior leadership contracts must be approved by the D.O.E. County Office.
“With regard to your other specific questions, I cannot discuss a pending personnel matter,’’ Corallo said.
Several city education officials said they expect Evans to name Eileen Shafer to the position. Shafer has been an assistant superintendent in the school district since 2005, according to her resume. She also had served as Paterson Public Schools’ director of human resources, supervisor of physical education and health, and supervisor of substance awareness.
Shafer’s career started in 1981 when she took a job as a physical education teacher in the City of Orange.
Some school board members have raised questions about the process that Evans has used to pick his deputy.
“I need to know how widely it was posted,’’ said Commissioner Errol Kerr. “Was it purely a local post or did we go beyond the local boundaries? How many candidates applied? When did the screening start? What the panel look like that did the screening?’’
Kerr said he thought Evans should look nationwide for his deputy. “If you narrow it down to a local thing, you may not get the best person,’’ Kerr said. “The deputy should be as good as the person in charge. We need someone who is above and beyond the ordinary.’’
Irving and Commissioner Chrystal Cleaves said that Evans himself was screening the applicants. “Of course, I would always like to have more input by the board,’’ said Irving. “But it’s his deputy. So he should always have the final say so.’’
Under the system of state control, the school board has no real authority over any of the district’s hiring decisions, said Commissioner Jonathan Hodges. “The deputy doesn’t work for me, unfortunately, he works for the superintendent of schools,’’ Hodges said. “So I can’t tell him what to do with his staff.’’
Still, Hodges said he hoped Evans would pick someone with expertise in curriculum, which he said is one of the district’s shortcomings. “We have significant challenges, particularly in the area of literacy,’’ Hodges said. “So I think the deputy should have abilities in curriculum.’’