At its May 9 meeting, the South Orangetown Central School District Board of Education unanimously appointed Brian Culot, Ed.D. as Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2023. The appointment marks the culmination of an extensive search process informed by input from students, staff, parents and community members last fall.
“Dr. Culot is an innovative, committed, student-centered leader,” noted Board of Education President Dana Stilley, Ph.D. “We are confident that his leadership will continue to foster an inclusive learning environment while building community and empowering teachers.”
“I am honored to serve as Superintendent of Schools and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our Board of Education, students, staff and families to build on the excellent work and success that makes South Orangetown such an exceptional place to teach, learn and live,” Culot said.
A veteran educator of 27 years, Culot first joined the District as Cottage Lane Elementary School Principal in 2009, before being appointed Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in 2013. Over the course of his tenure in South Orangetown, he has led district initiatives to support student voice, inclusion and family/community engagement and championed instructional innovation and leadership across buildings and content areas with an emphasis on student-centered, problem based learning.
As Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Culot spearheaded the development of K-12 curriculum maps; established instructional coach positions to provide ongoing professional development and support to K-12 teachers in the areas of literacy, math, science and technology; instituted content area leadership teams to review curriculum and K-12 alignment, exchange strategies and best practices and identify opportunities for continuous, systemic improvement; engaged the Tri-States Consortium for comprehensive review of curriculum and instruction to inform the District’s efforts to meet and exceed new standards; and, directed the comprehensive professional development program for SOCSD educators. He has created opportunities to extend learning aligned with student interests by expanding K-12 enrichment programs and high school elective offerings; establishing the District’s Summer STEAM Camp, School Maker Faire and Family Curriculum Nights; and, launching the TZHS Pathways app.
Culot first joined the District with 10 years of administrative experience in New York City public schools. Prior to his administrative positions, he served as a guidance counselor, program director and special education teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Buffalo, a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Science degree in Education Administration and Supervision from Baruch College and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fordham University.
Congratulations, Dr. Culot!
On September 8, 2022, the Board of Education approved the hire of School Leadership, LLC to conduct a superintendent search for a successor to retiring superintendent Robert Pritchard, Ed.D.
At its November 17 meeting, the Board of Education adopted position specifications for its superintendent search following a report by School Leadership LLC consultants Susan Wollin and Kenneth Mitchell, Ed.D.
Wollin and Mitchell reviewed the process through which they had gathered input from students, staff members, parents and community members, which included a series of in person and virtual focus groups and an online survey in October. “The Board made it clear that they wanted to engage as many community members as possible in informing the development of a candidate profile,” Wollin said.
A total of 100 individuals participated in focus groups; 597 individuals completed the online survey. The consultants remarked on the quality of student participation at all levels–elementary, middle and high school–and the high survey response rate. “This was easily double the typical participation rate of other districts this size,” noted Mitchell. “People love this place. People are proud of the schools…this was consistent across all groups.”
Based on feedback from the school district community, School Leadership identified the following summary of key characteristics:
- An instructional leader with substantive and meaningful teaching, building and district-level experience in a high expectations district who is excited to lead SOCSD into the next decade
- A strategic, systems-oriented and fiscally responsible problem solver with demonstrated and notable experience engaging a school community to achieve the district’s vision and mission
- A proactive communicator who enjoys and welcomes listening to and engaging with multiple and diverse stakeholder groups and transparently shares information with clarity and consistency using a wide variety of outlets
- A confident and diplomatic leader with the wisdom and courage to productively resolve challenges and achieve unity through a collaborative approach to school governance
- An approachable, calm and caring educational mentor committed to elevating and inspiring all members of a dynamic district to a higher level of personal, professional and community accountability and achievement
“One of the most important charges of a board of education is the hiring and evaluation of the superintendent,” stated Board President Dana Stilley, Ph.D. “This is a responsibility that we take very seriously and we deeply appreciate that so many of our students, parents, staff and community members chose to contribute to this process.”
The online application process opened November 21, 2022 and closed on February 5, 2023. The search drew more than 30 applicants. Semifinalist candidates were presented to the Board of Education during its February 16 Executive Session.
Semifinalist and finalist candidates will be interviewed by the Board during Executive Session throughout the month of March. The Board anticipates that it will appoint a new superintendent of schools in May to start July 1.
On December 1, 2022, the Board of Education selected Ileana Eckert to serve as Interim Superintendent of Schools through June 30, 2023.
May 2023: New superintendent of school announced with anticipated July 1, 2023 start date
March 3-31, 2023: Semifinalist and finalist interviews to be conducted during Board of Education Executive Session
March 2, 2023: Slate of semifinalists are presented to the Board of Education in Executive Session
February 5, 2023: Application deadline
November 21, 2022: Application opens via the School Leadership website
November 17, 2022: BOE anticipates approving search specifications at its Board meeting to guide the search process
October 23, 2022: Community survey closes at 5:00PM
October 17-19, 2022: School Leadership, LLC to conduct focus groups and community forums. View the Superintendent Search 2022 postcard which was mailed to South Orangetown residents on October 6, 2022.
October 3, 2022: Community survey opens
September 8, 2022: BOE approves the hire of School Leadership, LLC to conduct the District’s superintendent search
September 6, 2022: BOE convenes Executive Session to interview selected executive search firms
August 29, 2022: BOE reviews and discusses proposals in Executive Session
August 25, 2022: Final deadline to submit proposals
July 21, 2022: BOE advertises “Request for Proposal – Recruitment Services”
July 18, 2022: BOE announces that it will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the superintendent search process
July 13, 2022: BOE holds special workshop to discuss the superintendent search