Superintendents speak out during education forum

Superintendents from around the region participated in an online discussion about education and how the pandemic is changing administrative demands.

Posted: Apr 21, 2021 5:49 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2021 6:08 PM

In addition to all the health and safety regulations put forth by the State, the pandemic has made school Superintendents duties more demanding, and they were given an opportunity to explain how those roles have changed during an on-line forum. Dr. Brian K. Bellair, the Superintendent of Whitesboro Central School District spoke about the extra time needed to plan.

"The planning that it’s taking to deal with the pandemic and all the unknowns is extraordinary knowing that much of what you plan you may never use because the situation may not occur or it may occur differently, but it’s still important, and it really takes a lot of time and attention to plan for all those scenarios."

Decisions on remote learning, school functions, sports events, and budgetary concerns are just a few of the issues that can change in a moment’s notice. Sandra Sherwood, District Superintendent of Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES talked about how crazy her job can get. 

"The role has shifted more to being a ringmaster, or a master of ceremonies at a circus, where you’re just constantly juggling day to day needs, as well as trying to oversee the instructional leadership that’s at the heart of the mission and vision of every school district."

Madison-Oneida BOCES District Superintendent Scott Budelmann knows Superintendents have to make decisions on the best way to deliver services, keeping the objective of education and safety first.

"Our supervisory focus has really shifted toward outcomes instead of just time on task. Our workforce is more distributed now. You know and I find this to be particularly true in the area of technology. We still have a lot of folks working remotely. Not simply because of the pandemic, but because that’s really the way the industry is going. It’s allowing us to be competitive, and it’s allowing us to be much more efficient in the delivery of services."

Many districts have been pleased with the State and Federal Aid they’ve received, but Superintendent of Rome Schools Peter Blake talked about how Superintendents have to remain cautious about spending.

"It is important for us as leaders to remember that eventually that money’s not going to be there, so anything we do implement with that money that might be a very good program or a great idea, we need to make sure that down the road we can sustain that with our own general fund as to not have to make budget cuts some day when that federal money’s not there."

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