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Mount Markham school board names new superintendent
Oct. 2, 2015



Mount Markham Board of Education members have selected Paul Berry as the district’s next superintendent of schools and have scheduled a special board meeting for Tuesday, Oct. 6, to officially appoint him to the position.

Berry, who is superintendent of Hadley-Luzerne Central School District and has a doctorate in education administration from the University at Albany, said he was “tremendously pleased” to hear the news that Mount Markham board members selected him to lead the district.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet with various groups in Mount Markham during the interview process, and I look forward to the opportunity to join their community and serve as their superintendent,” Berry said.

The Board of Education’s decision came following full-day interviews on Wednesday, Sept. 30, with the two finalists, Berry and Donald Wheeler, who is superintendent of Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District and has a doctorate in educational leadership from Syracuse University.

“The board was seeking someone with central office experience to lead the district,” board President Ronald Loiacono said. “The candidates, Dr. Berry and Dr. Wheeler, were both experienced superintendents. After reviewing all of the feedback provided by the various stakeholders, Dr. Berry rose to the top. The board would like to thank everyone who participated in the selection process and is looking forward to working with Dr. Berry.”

Mount Markham Board of Education members will conduct a special board meeting starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Mount Markham Middle School to officially make the appointment. Berry is planning to start with the district on Nov. 16. He will have an annual salary of $137,500.

Berry will be leaving his position as superintendent of the Hadley-Luzerne Central School District during his fourth year of service there.

“I am so grateful to the Hadley-Luzerne community for giving me the opportunity to serve as their superintendent,” Berry said. “I’ve learned so much, and I’ve enjoyed so much the opportunity to work with the Hadley-Luzerne school community.”

While at Hadley-Luzerne, Berry gained experience handling the school budget process, contract negotiations, a capital project and making academic improvements, he said.

“I look forward to bringing that experience to Mount Markham,” he said.

Former Mount Markham Superintendent Shawn Bissetta resigned in December 2014, and Interim Superintendent Robert Service has been leading the district since January 2015.

The Mount Markham Board of Education contracted with Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua to lead the superintendent search. Screening and interviews with the Mount Markham school board took place to narrow the pool of candidates down to the finalists.

During the full-day interviews for finalists, the candidates met with Service, support staff representatives, teaching staff representatives, administrators and supervisors, junior and senior students and a committee of community members. They also toured the building and participated in a community forum with questions from the public.

Through those meetings, Berry believes he interacted with more than 50 people who were invested in the interview process.

“That reflects a level of commitment to the district that’s really important to me,” he said.

The junior and senior student meetings were separate at the request of the students, and the students went off-script from prepared questions to ask about their primary concerns, which were would he be visible, would they be able to get to know him and would he work to restore programs lost through cuts made due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Berry said he was impressed that the students took on that leadership role, were professionally dressed and took their responsibility in the interview process seriously.

When starting in November, one of the first things Berry plans to tackle will be beginning the budget process, he said.

“I look forward to working with the Mount Markham community to deliver a budget the community can support,” he said. “I look forward to working with an experienced board, the exceptional faculty and staff, the community and our students to help Mount Markham continue its excellent progress.”

Berry hopes to move into Mount Markham Central School District, so he’ll be extra busy between now and his anticipated Nov. 16 start date, he said.

“My wife and I have a lot to do over the next six weeks,” he said.






 
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