RYE, N.Y. -- Since the departure of Superintendent Frank Alvarez at the end of last school year, the Rye City School District has been conducting a search for a new superintendent to take the helm.
This week, the Rye Board of Education announced they have narrowed the field to one finalist, Eric Byrne, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction with the Chappaqua School District, said Sarah Derman, spokeswoman for the district.
Byrne has 23 years of experience in public education including fours years as the principal of Chappaqua’s Roaring Brook Elementary School.
He began his career in education as a science teacher in New York City. He received a doctorate and a master’s degree in education from Fordham University and a bachelor of arts degree in natural science, also from Fordham.
The board engaged the services of executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to help in recruiting candidates. The firm spent considerable time in Rye holding focus groups and conducting interviews with a wide range of candidates to identify the most sought-after leadership qualities for the next superintendent, Derman said.
Eighty-five community members, teachers, administrators, parents, union leaders, and students participated in the search. The firm also gathered additional feedback from an online survey completed by 209 school and community members.
The most sought-after characteristics identified by the Rye community include: A knowledgeable and visionary educator who is innovative in identifying and implementing initiatives designed to meet the needs of all students; a collaborative and engaging communicator who engenders respect through interactions with faculty, parents and community members; and a leader, approachable and authentic in manner, visible throughout the District, and actively engaged in the community. Many of those surveyed expressed a desire that the candidate makes a long-term commitment to the district.
Forty candidates applied or were recruited for consideration. After screenings and interviews, the search consultants presented a slate of six highly-qualified candidates to the Board of Education, Derman said.
“The Board of Education was united in its commitment to find the best candidate. After a rigorous selection process, the choice was clear. Dr. Eric Byrne’s background and experience as a leader in curriculum development and implementation are extraordinary," said Board President Katy Keohane Glassberg. "He is known for building respectful, productive relationships that result in improvements in teaching and learning and he believes in the importance of making operational decisions based on the educational goals of a district.”
The board expects to take formal action to appoint Byrne at the next Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Once approved, he will begin working in Rye in July.
Daniel McCann, Chappaqua's interim superintendent, congratulated Byrne in an email sent out to parents on Thursday.
"Eric's success is our District’s success, and it is Rye's good fortune to have an educational leader of his stature, vision, and commitment to all students," he wrote. "Please join me in wishing him all the best in this next chapter of his career."
For Daily Voice coverage of Alvarez' departure and the appointment of an interim schools superintendent last summer, click here.