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Superintendent Semifinalists To Interview With Mount Vernon School Board

The Mount Vernon Board of Education continues to seek a replacement for interim Superintendent Judith Johnson.
The Mount Vernon Board of Education continues to seek a replacement for interim Superintendent Judith Johnson. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon Board of Education will interview six semifinalists on Tuesday as they continue to narrow the candidates poised to replace interim Schools Superintendent Judith Johnson.

There will be a special meeting of the Board of Education at 6 p.m. at the Education Center for the  interviews. There will be no communications from the public, who will have the opportunity to be heard at an upcoming community forum.

The search to replace Johnson began more than two years ago, in July 2011. The district named three finalists for the position the following June, before mutually determining none were a good fit for the district.

Last fall, the district created an online survey for the community, polling which characteristics and qualities were most important for a superintendent. In the next head of schools, the community is seeking a candidate with personal knowledge of Mount Vernon that can collaborate seamlessly between the district and community.

The district is seeking a candidate with a minimum of five years experience working in a central office, that has experience with financial management and “the ability to turn around a school district in crisis.”

The field was narrowed to 11 semifinalists late last year, but only the final six have been granted an interview with the Board of Education. Half of those candidates will soon be eliminated from contention, with the three finalists participating in the community forum.

A finalist could be chosen as soon as the end of the month.

According to the Board of Education, “if the trustees determine that there is an insufficient choice among the six, then the board will direct the Superintendent Search Committee to re-open the search. If the trustees determine that there are three top finalists, or if less than three is sufficient, the top finalists will be presented for a public, community-wide, forum.”

Johnson was initially hired on a one-year contract last year to replace former interim Superintendent Waverline Bennett-Conroy, who was serving in place of the suspended Walton Sawyer. Earlier this year, Johnson announced that she would remain in the position for one more year before officially retiring.

Whoever is chosen as Johnson’s replacement will have large shoes to fill, as the interim superintendent has built an impressive resume in her years working in education.

As the head of the Peekskill School District from 2001 to 2011, her schools twice earned “most improved” accolades from the State Department of Education. High school graduation rates have also increased dramatically at every district she took the helm at.

In 2008, the state Council of School Superintendents named Johnson as its superintendent of the year.

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