SKANEATELES | Parents, administrators, former administrators and teachers in the Skaneateles Central School District heard how Mark Davey would lead the district should he be selected as the district's next superintendent.
On Thursday night, Davey concluded a day of meetings with students, staff, teachers, parent groups and community members at a public forum where he fielded questions. Attendees were given the opportunity to submit written input after the meeting.
Davey, an educator with 28 years of experience, began his career as a social studies teacher in Central Square. He is currently the superintendent of the Gates-Chili School District. He is one of two candidates vying for the top administrative position in Skaneateles.
"At my core I am a teacher," Davey said to the approximately 60 attendees.
In a 40-minute power point presentation, Davey made clear he'd done his homework on the district he aimed to impress.
He discussed the traditions in which the district takes pride, acknowledging its high national rankings in academic performance, artistic achievement and athletics.
"You have a long tradition of having an excellent school district that has been documented in award-winning programs in Odyssey of the Mind, art and drama," Davey said. "Folks have not been asleep at the wheel."
He talked about the relationship that the school district must foster in the community by its commitment to being transparent about its business and processes while also supporting and maintaining the town and school's culture.
"You're not looking for someone to radically change the district, but to keep it moving forward," he said.
Before the public weighed in with questions, Davey may have answered one when he was explicit about his decision, should he be the choice for superintendent, to move his family to Skaneateles. He has two school-aged daughters.
"My intent would be to become a member of the community," he said.
Questions from the audience ranged from technology in the classroom to recent changes to the Annual Professional Performance Reviews.
Parent Amy Sander wanted to know how Davey felt about the arts, music in particular, and what his thoughts were about maintaining these programs in the face of tight budgets and declining enrollments.
"Those programs are very, very important," he said. "But we need to make sure there continues to be involvement and participation to continue. We need to be creative in different ways."
In Skaneateles, there are several booster groups comprised of parents and residents who provide additional funding for arts and sports education.
"It's important the district fundamentally decide what the priorities are that the community will support," he said.
Kerry Brogan is a social worker in the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District and has three children in three of the four schools in Skaneateles. She said she is looking for a superintendent who is approachable and willing to make tough, informed decisions.
"Because you need to be involved in your school," she said. "And I like an atmosphere where parents are comfortable.
"I want to feel as though I'm a participant in my child's education."