FROM: Watertown City School District Board of Education
DATE: December 21, 2022
RE: Watertown Superintendent – Recruitment/Selection Process
One of the most important decisions that a Board of Education will ever make is the recruitment and selection of a Superintendent of Schools. This decision will not only impact our faculty, staff, and students, but also our entire community. This is a responsibility that we as members of the Board of Education take very seriously. Over the past several months the Board has embarked on a process to recruit a new Superintendent. The Superintendent’s vacancy was advertised widely in professional journals and newsletters throughout New York State. At the close of the recruitment period, candidates had submitted letters of interest, resumes, and credentials for this position. Each member of the Board reviewed the application materials of each candidate. Following a discussion of each candidate’s credentials the Board selected a group of individuals for personal interviews. At the conclusion of the initial interviews, the Board discussed their impressions of each candidate. As a result of this discussion, the Board has selected the following three (3) candidates to move on to the next step of the recruitment process:
• Mr. Robert Finster, Superintendent, Harrisville Central School District
• Mr. Tom Jennings, Superintendent, Pulaski Academy & Central School District
• Mr. Larry Schmiegel, High School Principal, Monroe County School District, Key West, Florida
Robert Finster has served as Superintendent of Harrisville Central School District in Harrisville, NY, since 2013, and prior to that was Principal at Harrisville since 2010. Robert also previously held teaching and administrative positions at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, Madison-Oneida BOCES, and Watertown City School District.
Tom Jennings has served as Superintendent of Pulaski Academy and Central School District since 2018, and served as Superintendent of Schenevus Central School District in the Catskills from 2012-2018. Prior to that, Tom was K-12 Principal at Schenevus Central School District, and a high school social studies teacher at Oneonta City School District.
Larry Schmiegel has served as High School Principal in Monroe County School District in Key West, Florida since 2016. Prior to that, Larry was Elementary Principal at Oswego City School District, in Oswego, NY, and an Administrator in the Syracuse City School District, in Syracuse, NY. Though currently a school leader in Florida, Larry grew up in Chittenango, NY.
During the next phase of the recruitment process, the Board will be seeking feedback from the school community regarding their impressions of the three (3) finalist candidates. Second round stakeholder sessions have been scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2023. Each candidate will be participating in a series of sessions with the district’s staff, students, and community. At each of these sessions, participants will be able to ask the candidates whatever questions they would like to ask. The members of the community will have an opportunity to meet each candidate at community interview sessions scheduled for 6:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. on January 19 in the Watertown High School Auditorium. We encourage people to participate in these sessions and to bring questions you would like to ask the candidates so we can gather as much information as possible from the Watertown Community. Each individual who elects to participate in the process will be invited to provide the Board with written comments regarding their impression of each candidate. These comments may be anonymous depending on the wishes of the author. The Board will review the comments collected from each group and use this
information in the final decision-making process.