New superintendent picked for NHP-GCP school district

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New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district Superintendent Robert Katulak.

It can’t yet say who, but the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school board has chosen a successor for outgoing Superintendent Robert Katulak.

The school district is finalizing the job offer and conducting a background check for the new superintendent, who was chosen from a field of nearly 50 candidates, Jennifer Kerrane, the school board president, said. The board plans to name the superintendent in April.

The board and others involved in the search process sought a superintendent with extensive elementary education experience and at least three years as a districtwide administrator, Kerrane said.

“It couldn’t just be a principal coming up,” Kerrane said. “They needed experience. They needed to have a strong educational background.”

Katulak, 63, announced his retirement from the elementary school district in September. He has led the district for nine years and has more than four decades of experience in education.

The new superintendent will take over on July 1, after Katulak’s last day on June 30. His or her salary is being negotiated, Kerrane said. Katulak was paid $235,642 in the most recent fiscal year.

The school board started the search in January with the help of School Leadership, a Malverne-based firm that helps districts find new top administrators, Kerrane said.

The district worked with School Leadership when it hired Katulak in 2008, according to the firm’s website. The company also assisted the Sewanhaka Central High School District, in which New Hyde Park-Garden City Park students attend high school, when it hired Superintendent Ralph Ferrie in 2011.

The board collected input from lead administrators, teachers, staff and parents to create a list of preferred criteria for the new superintendent, Kerrane said.

In addition to experience as a central administrator and an elementary education background, the board wanted an “approachable” candidate with experience in an “increasingly diverse” school district, a collaborative leadership style and strong communication skills, according to the list of criteria.

The board narrowed the candidate field to 10 applicants and then five before unanimously choosing a new superintendent, Kerrane said.

Katulak helped gather feedback from district employees about the criteria, but “that was the extent of my involvement” in the search process, he said in an email.

Katulak will likely stay on after June 30 to help the new superintendent transition into the position, Kerrane said.

“We shouldn’t have a problem because Robert [Katulak] is so willing to make sure we have a good leader and make sure everything goes well,” she said.

The change follows the hiring last year of new principals for all four New Hyde Park-Garden City Park schools and a new assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology.

The new principals are “working very hard to continue what was already set in motion,” Kerrane said.

“I think that the change is definitely good,” she said. “Any of the four schools can attest to it — so far we’ve only heard good things.”

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