Despite drawing candidates from 10 states, the next Ossining Union Free School District superintendent has been right here all along.
"The board wanted to conduct a thorough search to ensure that we were getting the best person for the job,” said Board of Education President Bill Kress in a statement today. "Through that process, Mr. [Raymond] Sanchez rose to the top. We’re confident that he has the skills, the experience and the vision our district needs to achieve even greater success."
Sanchez has been serving as the district's interim superintendent since the recent depature of Dr. Phyllis Glassman.
According to a Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES press release, Sanchez has held a number of roles within the district, "...including, fourth-grade teacher, English as a Second Language Supervisor, Assistant Principal, Supervisor for English Language Arts and Funded Programs, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent."
He holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from SUNY Geneseo and a master's degree in reading from Long Island University, as well as a certificate of advanced study in education administration from Columbia University. Sanchez is also currently seeking his doctorate in educational leadership administration and policy at Fordham University.
"Words can’t describe how grateful and excited I am to be taking on this role," said Sanchez in the statement. "There is so much to be proud in the Ossining schools. I hope to build on our many successes and take our district from great to greater."
During his time in Ossining, Sanchez "has taken the lead in establishing the district’s highly successful dual language program; overseen the successful completion of a new evaluation system for teachers and principals; and introduced a communications program that reaches stakeholders where they are, using social media, videos, email, the district website and printed materials," the statement read.
The district and board utilized BOCES to help conduct its superintendent search.
"What we heard again and again from students, teachers, parents, business owners, longtime residents and new residents was that the community wanted a leader who understood diversity, understood the community, had strong knowledge of curriculum and state education requirements and strong budgetary skills,” said BOCES Superintendent James Langlois, who worked with BOCES Assistant Superintendent John McCarthy durng the search.
The district narrowed the field of superintendent candidates to 32 in late January, of which BOCES chose five for the board of education to interview.
Three finalists were interviewed by a search committee made up of district stakeholders.
Rod Kopera, a member of the committee, said, "Mr. Sanchez is well regarded by all stakeholders. And I think this process showed that we can come together and deal with the issues we’re facing."
The district also said it considered the input from the nearly 200 locals who completed a web-based survey about the position.
In the BOCES statement, PTA Council Co-President Beth Sniffen voiced her support for Sanchez's appointment.
"He knows our district," she shared. "He is devoted to giving our kids the best possible education and he has reached out to the community in a way that has been positive and inclusive. He truly was the best candidate."
Ossining High School Principal Josh Mandel added, "I think Ray is an excellent choice for the entire district. He has shown that he understands the students and families in Ossining very well. He is a conscientious worker and will work on behalf of all the constituencies in the district."
Sanchez will officially be appointed at a board of education meeting on Tuesday, March 5.