News from the Ossining school district on its appointment of interim Raymond Sanchez as the new superintendent of schools.
After an extensive national search that drew applicants from 10 states and involved hundreds of members of the community, the Ossining Board of Education has chosen Interim Superintendent Raymond Sanchez as the district’s next superintendent of schools.
“The board wanted to conduct a thorough search to ensure that we were getting the best person for the job,” said Board of Education President Bill Kress. “Through that process, Mr. Sanchez rose to the top. We’re confident that he has the skills, the experience and the vision our district needs to achieve even greater success.”
Prior to advertising the position of superintendent, the district held community meetings to gather input on the qualifications, leadership qualities and core values that community members hoped the new leader would possess. More than 100 people attended various meetings with the search consultant, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES. Those unable to attend were given the option of completing an on-line survey. Nearly 200 people completed the online survey.
“What we heard again and again from students, teachers, parents, business owners, longtime residents and new residents was that the community wanted a leader who understood diversity, understood the community, had strong knowledge of curriculum and state education requirements and strong budgetary skills,” said BOCES Superintendent James Langlois, who conducted the search along with BOCES Assistant Superintendent John McCarthy.
“Despite being an internal candidate, Ray demonstrated during the search process that he has new ideas on how to continue to improve our schools amid the current fiscal climate,” said Board Member Graig Galef.
Through careful screening, the search consultant narrowed the field of 32 applicants to five candidates. The five candidates were interviewed by the Board of Education, which narrowed the list to three finalists. These finalists were then interviewed by the district’s 20-member search committee, comprising community members, staff members and student representatives.
“I was happy with the selection of Mr. Sanchez as our next superintendent,” said Beth Sniffen, co-president of the PTA Council, and a member of the search committee. “He knows our district. He is devoted to giving our kids the best possible education and he has reached out to the community in a way that has been positive and inclusive. He truly was the best candidate.”
Rod Kopera, a community member who was on the search committee, said Sanchez’ selection and the selection process itself bode well for the district’s ability to handle the financial challenges ahead.
“It was a very deliberate process. The search committee had broad representation from various stakeholders and everyone took that responsibility quite seriously,” Kopera said. “Mr. Sanchez is well regarded by all stakeholders. And I think this process showed that we can come together and deal with the issues we’re facing.”
Ossining High School Principal Josh Mandel had high praise for Sanchez’s selection. “I think Ray is an excellent choice for the entire district,” he said. “He has shown that he understands the students and families in Ossining very well. He is a conscientious worker and will work on behalf of all the constituencies in the district.”
During his tenure in Ossining, Sanchez has taken the lead in establishing the district’s highly successful dual language program; overseen the successful completion of a new evaluation system for teachers and principals; and introduced a communications program that reaches stakeholders where they are, using social media, videos, email, the district website and printed materials. He has held numerous positions in Ossining schools including: fourth-grade teacher, English as a Second Language Supervisor, Assistant Principal, Supervisor for English Language Arts and Funded Programs, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent.
Sanchez holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Geneseo; a master’s degree in Reading from Long Island University; a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration from Columbia University; and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership Administration and Policy at Fordham University.
“Words can’t describe how grateful and excited I am to be taking on this role,” said Sanchez. “There is so much to be proud in the Ossining schools. I hope to build on our many successes and take our district from great to greater.”
Sanchez’ annual salary will be $232,000 and will remain at that level for the length of his initial contract. Given the economic pressures facing the district, and acting on a suggestion from Sanchez, the Board of Education has decided not to fill the Deputy Superintendent position.
The Board of Education will meet Tuesday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. to appoint Sanchez to his new position.