Binghamton City School District’s superintendent was dismissed last March. There have been a couple of interim superintendents since then, but now the district is searching for a more permanent leader. David Hawley is the president of the Binghamton School Board. He spoke with WSKG’s Sarah Gager about the search, which he says will conclude with a selection in the Spring.
What is the new superintendent stepping into?
David Hawley: I think that it’s a good time for any superintendent to step in to what we are doing. The district is stabilized. We’re doing well and moving forward. Both our interim superintendents have done excellent jobs and we’ve been able to progress as a district.
DH: We’ve appointed a new principle to East Middle School. We’ve seen a big change. Things are calmed down over there and we believe it’s under control.
Sarah Gager: What will be expected of the next superintendent to keep schools safe for students?
DH: Obviously safety is our most important concern. Right now, we do have safe buildings, so it will be a matter of maintaining that. We don’t feel that our students are threatened in any way in the district right now.
SG: Is bullying still a problem?
DH: You’re dealing with children and bullying, to some degree, is probably always going to be something you have to be concerned with. Obviously we are concerned with that, and we deal with that on an individual basis, but, as far as being anything that’s out of control or anything where anyone feel danger going into the school, that’s not the case at all.
On Poverty In The District
DH: We know from studies that children who live in poverty have a high level of stress. So, when they come into the schools they’re feeling that stress. The role of the school is to make them feel comfortable and accepted, and to develop relationships with the students.
SG: How can a school make a student feel comfortable?
DH: Luckily we’ve been able to work with community agencies. It’s a community problem, it’s not just a problem of the schools. We’re all working together and there’s a variety of approaches. There’s no one simple answer to these complex questions, and so it’s a matter of putting together a procedure where we try to get the students as engaged as possible. You know, if they have at least one adult that they feel a real connection with, it makes a big difference.