Penn Yan selects Hamilton as new superintendent
PENN YAN—The Penn Yan Central School District Board of Education announced the selection of David Hamilton as the new superintendent of schools, Thursday, April 7.
Hamilton has served as an elementary classroom teacher, technology and fine arts administrator, school principal, and director of curriculum in a career lasting 19 years. He currently is the executive director of instruction at the Churchville-Chili Central School District, a position he has held since 2007.
Hamilton holds degrees in music theory/composition, music education/performance, educational administration, and is pursuing an advanced degree in educational leadership.
Jeff Morehouse, president of the Penn Yan board of education, said “Hamilton is an educational leader who has a demonstrated record of success in making major gains in instruction through collaboration. David’s references noted his dedication, intelligence, vision, ability to think outside the box, and calm thoughtful demeanor.”
Hamilton plans on relocating to Penn Yan. The board expects to appoint him to the position of superintendent on May 4, pending successful completion of contract negotiations. He would assume his new duties on or around July 1.
Hamilton was one of three finalists that met with the public Monday to Wednesday, April 4 to 6. The other two finalists were Patrick Brimstein, high school principal at Wheatland-Chili Central School District, and Howard Dennis, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Penn Yan.
Hamilton outlined his background for the dozen or so people who attended the forum he participated in on Tuesday, April 5. Hamilton said he still teaches because he feels it is important to stay in touch with teaching. Hamilton added, “I need to remember what it feels like to be in the seats the kids are in.”
Hamilton fielded several questions. One of the first was regarding his preparation for school finance. Hamilton said he had helped with the budget at Churchville-Chili, learning some of the minutia. A technical piece was covered as part of his certification. Hamilton said the other critical part is how the district uses its resources.
A member of the audience asked how Hamilton would manage connections between school and the community at large. Hamilton said he thinks school is a community resource. He sees part of the superintendent’s role as head cheerleader. Hamilton said it would be important for people to feel he is accessible on a one-to-one basis, adding, “Being accessible is how we get a two way community.”
A member of the audience said some senior citizens don’t understand why smart boards and so much technology are needed. Hamilton said, “We didn’t have it when I went to school. The world is changing us. I don’t want to give kindergarten students minimum preparation. They need any tools that will help them along.”
The possibility of cutting athletics was raised. Hamilton commented kids would be lost who stay in school because of extracurricular activities. Regarding cutting activities, Hamilton said, “It doesn’t raise well rounded kids. We have to help them grab onto whatever will help them be successful.”
Former Superintendent of Schools Ann Orman retired in February. She announced her plan to retire late last year and the process of finding a new superintendent began. Thirty-one candidates started the process and 26 completed all of the necessary steps to become full applicants. After an initial screening process was completed by the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES search consultants, the board of education selected six semifinalists for interviews with a sixteen person School/Community Group and the board.