The president of the Lackawanna School District Board of Education disputed another board member’s contention that the board didn’t do a thorough search for the district’s next superintendent.
The board considered 14 applicants, including one from Brooklyn and another from near Boston, Mass., before hiring longtime Lackawanna resident Anne G. Spadone as superintendent on Thursday, according to Ronald Miller, school board president.
“She was obviously the best fit for our district,” said Miller.
Miller said the district used two national websites to advertise for the position and whittled the 14 applicants to six candidates. Three finalists were interviewed on Tuesday, he said, with five of the board’s seven members attending the interviews.
Board member Leonard Kowalski maintained last week that no national search was conducted and that the board didn’t seek the assistance of BOCES or hire a search firm, as is standard practice, because a majority faction of the board had settled on Spadone.
“Lenny Kowalski was part of the search committee. He knows full well we received applications from Brooklyn and from Massachusetts,” said Miller.
Miller, who failed to win re-election, leaves the board at the end of this month, which will bring an end to the majority coalition that favored Spadone’s hiring.
New members Jennifer Grzybowski and Nicholas Sobaszek are slated to be seated on July 1.
Robert Sireika was the lone board member to vote against Spadone’s appointment and five-year contract. In addition to Miller, voting yes were Lisa Friend, Kenneth Motyka and David Joyce.
Leonard Kowalski and Mark Kowalski, who often align with Sireika, did not attend the meeting.
“There probably was a national search, but they knew who they were appointing the whole time,” said Sireika. “Did we have any say in it? No.”
Sireika said Miller timed the search and vote to assure that he and his allies appointed their hand-picked candidate prior to losing their majority.
“I just hope we can work with her,” he said.
Sireika, Grzybowski and others were critical of Spadone’s politicking on behalf of Miller prior to the school board elections.
Miller said the vote wasn’t rushed, and the search concluded within the parameters set by the board back in February.
“I was very clear that this would be done before July 1,” he said.
Spadone, a former BOCES 1 administrator, had been with the Lackawanna district as personnel director for about a year.
She has served as interim superintendent since March 15, when former superintendent Nicholas Korach retired.
Spadone will continue to serve as the district’s personnel director, saving the district about $30,000 per year, Miller said.