State Education Chief Talks To Aspiring Westchester School Leaders

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State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. spoke about leadership at
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. spoke about leadership at Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The Aspiring Superintendent Workshop attracted about 35 school leaders from Westchester, Putnam, Long Island and upstate counties who were interested in learning more about the demanding job of running a school district.

School district leaders are in an ideal position to make a difference in children’s lives despite the mounting challenges surrounding education and schools. That was the overriding message from the state education commissioner, local schools superintendents and others who spoke at a program last week held at the Yorktown campus of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES.

“The program was a positive signal to participants that we need our shining stars to step up and take on the challenges ahead,” said BOCES’ Assistant Superintendent Lynn Allen.

BOCES’ Center for Educational Leadership partnered with the Leadership for Educational Achievement Foundation, the professional development arm of the New York state Council of School Superintendents, to run the all-day program.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. thanked participants for pursuing educational leadership positions that would enable them to help mold schools and urged them to continue working to improve education in the state.

Robert J. Reidy Jr., executive director of the superintendents council and a former longtime superintendent, said that becoming a district leader offered a wonderful opportunity “to support children, teachers and administrators.” He urged participants to reflect on what motivated them to lead schools.

“It’s a tough job with significant challenges,” Reidy said. “It is important to consider the legacy you want to leave and align your focus, goals and actions with that.”

Other speakers at the conference included Somers Superintendent Raymond Blanch; North Salem Superintendent Kenneth Freeston; Bedford Superintendent Jere Hochman; BOCES Assistant Superintendent John McCarthy; and Thomas Higgins, retired BOCES assistant superintendent.

The speakers outlined the rewards and challenges of leading a school district. They also spoke about superintendents’ educational and financial leadership roles, the importance of building relationships with changing school boards and the personal challenges associated with the job.

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