After meeting behind closed doors for nearly 2½ hours Tuesday, the Frontier School Board began contract negotiations with a prospective interim superintendent, as outgoing Superintendent James C. Bodziak prepares to leave after the summer.
The seven-member board, which learned last week of Bodziak’s plans to retire by Sept. 9, met in executive session to find an interim to guide the district until a permanent superintendent is hired.
The board did not take any formal action after its executive session, but Board President Janet MacGregor Plarr later said the board interviewed one candidate for the interim post Tuesday morning.
“We will finish contract negotiations in the next few days for the interim,” Plarr said, declining to identify the prospective hire.
The board is expected to appoint the interim when it meets in a public session at 7:30 a.m. July 25 at the Frontier Educational Center, 5120 Orchard Ave.
The board has not decided who it wants to tap as a search consultant for a new superintendent, but Donald A. Ogilvie, district superintendent of Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, is in the running as one of two candidates, Plarr said. The board spent a considerable amount of time talking with Ogilvie in executive session Tuesday.
She emphasized that the search will not be done inhouse, as some on the board had wanted.
“We are not doing it ourselves,” she said after the executive session. Plarr said she expects that the board probably will hire a search consultant at its Aug. 6 regular business meeting.
“The board wants as much involvement as possible, but we do not have the expertise, time or professional networking contacts,” she said.
Asked whether Frontier would look to the Western New York Educational Service Council – consultant Vincent J. Coppola led the district’s last search that netted Bodziak – Plarr said it would not use the council or Coppola’s services.
Bodziak, who is one of the top paid superintendents in the area at $189,000 a year, announced his retirement last week in the middle of a five-year pact that ran until February 2016.
Bodziak, 61, came to Frontier from a long superintendency in the East Aurora School District. Before that, he held positions in the Orchard Park School District.
“The pressures of trying to run a district have become almost too much for one person to run,” he said last week.
Ogilvie, in an earlier interview, acknowledged that the superintendent turnover in Erie County is likely to continue.
“Not with this abruptness, but because many of the superintendents are veterans, and soon districts will begin making preparations for their 2014 budget,” he said.
Board Vice President Martin Lalka told The Buffalo News he would like to see Frontier hire a superintendent who is younger and may stay longer.
“I would like to get a superintendent in a nice age range, where they can’t get up and go,” Lalka said. “I’d like to see a younger one, maybe in their 50s, and have them not go for a while.”