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Hilltown Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 27, 2010
By Anne Hayden
BERNE The Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board enthusiastically and unanimously appointed Paul Dorward as the district’s new superintendent yesterday.
He will be paid $127,000 annually for a 12-month work year.
Dorward, 43, is a lifelong resident of the town of DeRuyter, in central New York. He plans to move to the BKW area with his wife and children in July. The couple raised a nephew, who is now grown, and have two daughters in college in the Syracuse area; their two youngest children will attend the Berne elementary school in the fall.
“I’m from a very small community, and I wanted to find an area with that same feel. I’ve been very impressed with what I have seen here so far,” Dorward said yesterday.
He follows interim superintendent Kimberly LaBelle, who stepped in after Steven Schrade retired last August after decades at BKW.
The school board and the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services conducted an eight-month search, which began with a community survey to get resident feedback on the qualities desired in a superintendent. The board conducted interviews and introduced qualified candidates to district stakeholder groups. The stakeholder groups interviewed candidates and selected finalists for the school board’s in-depth interviews.
School board president Maureen Sikule said Dorward’s success in improving academic achievement, raising test scores and preventing student drop-outs at Vernon-Verona-Sherill, where he is now principal, impressed the BKW School Board as well as district stakeholders.
Dorward holds a doctorate degree in elementary and secondary education administration, a master of arts in teaching for earth science, a master’s degree in environmental science, and a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Dorward previously taught in North Syracuse, and was a school administrator at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School from 2005 to 2010. He said his main task in the coming days and months is to get out and meet the people, get a feel for what the district is like, and talk with board members to figure out what their goals are.
He is coming to BKW in the wake of a defeated budget and residents’ protests over rising taxes, but said he views the situation as an opportunity to move things forward in a positive direction.
“In these economic times, we are all facing challenges, but I think we can work together to reach common goals,” Dorward said. The most important goal, he said, is to improve the educational program in the district.
“I could not be happier with the choice I made to come here,” he said.