SKANEATELES — The past week has been a flurry of meetings and introductions for the new superintendent of the Skaneateles Central School District.
While things have been busy, Lynda Quick said she feels good about her time in the community so far, as she spent a few days in the area over the course of the summer and attended the opening day for staff. Though she will be following an entry plan, Quick said she plans on spending her first few weeks listening and learning from people in the community.
She said she will ask people the same questions, such as their hopes and dreams for Skaneateles and what they believe are the biggest obstacles and opportunities for the future. After gathering up more information based on responses, she will create a more detailed plan. She said she has been impressed by the passion of people in the community.
"They love the school, they're very proud of the school, which is great, and they're very interested and invested in the outcomes here, which makes it an easy conversation to have," she said. "I'm only four days in, so I've got a lot of listening and a lot of conversations left to have."
Quick plans on integrating a major focus on physical, mental, social and emotional wellness for staff and students alike this year, with a staff development day in February centered on staff wellness to help them understand health from various dimensions. Improvements to systems such human resources and records management are also in the works.
"We need to create a culture and climate where we're empathetic and caring, where everybody feels like they belong," she said. "And when we do that, everybody wants to come to work and they want to come to school and they feel this a place where they are comfortable, safe and happy."
Quick had previously been the district superintendent and chief operating officer of the Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming BOCES. Before that, she had been the BOCES' assistant superintendent. Her past experience includes serving as the BOCES attorney and labor relations specialist from 1994 to 2003 and becoming an Ohio associate attorney in 1990.
She has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and permanent certification as a New York State School District administrator and school business administrator from St. Bonaventure University and SUNY Buffalo. The Skaneateles school board previously said they were thoroughly impressed by Quick's time as a BOCES leader, balancing a $75 million dollar budget, 600 full-time employees and supervising 22 component districts.
Though much of her background is in law, Quick said she taught college courses over a 10 year span at St. Bonaventure, but hasn't taught in a classroom. She said she had internships and other experiences involving instruction and compared being a superintendent to being a CEO juggling various concerns.
"It's more about running all of the operations of a school district, (the main office) to the cafeteria to instruction (and) technology," she said.
Quick said that once she joined BOCES, she was fascinated and "blown away" by the work of those around her and work she and her colleagues were doing to go back to school to shift her focus to administration.
"You see the difference you make and you're impacting lives and really, our whole world, because they're our next generation of people who are going to be our world leaders, they're going to be our teachers, our engineers, our doctors, our lawyers, every career you can possibly think of," Quick said.
Quick's employment agreement with the degree said she will not be required to live in the district, but "it is expected that she will be visible in the community and in the District and she will participate in and attend both community and school events." Quick said she lives in Pittsford and commutes to Skaneateles most days, noting she does have an apartment just outside of the village she can stay at when she needs to. She said she and her husband have family obligations and she can't currently move, but she will assess that as the school year continues.
"I think it's more important that I am active in the community and participating in events and be present at local businesses and joining things like the YMCA, being a part of rotary, etc."
Quick said she is looking forward to the days ahead.
"I'm excited to be here and I'm excited to get started and the next few months are going to be fun and exciting a great earning opportunity for me," she said.