Two finalists for the district superintendent position at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES will meet this week with stakeholder groups, a search consultant said Tuesday.
Matthew L. Cook, the superintendent of the Newark Central School District in Newark, and Christopher J. DiFulvio, the assistant superintendent for instructional support at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, were named last week as the two finalists to succeed Jody Manning, who has held the position for seven years.
Chris Todd has served as the interim district superintendent since Manning’s retirement in June 2019.
“I think they’re both excellent candidates,” consultant Stephen Todd said.
Cook has been superintendent in Newark since 2013, according to a BOCES release. Before this, he worked from 2012-13 as director of human resources for the Wayne Central School District in 2012 and 2013 and held several positions in the Lyons Central School district from 2000 to 2012.
He was director of programming from 1994 to 2000 for the Council of Alcoholism and other Chemical Dependencies of the Finger Lakes in Geneva and started his career as a residential youth counselor in Rochester in 1989 and 1990 and as an alcohol and drug education coordinator in Lyons from 1990 to 1994.
DiFulvio has worked at OCM BOCES since 2015, starting at a career and technical education principale, then as director of innovative education before becoming the assistant superintendent for instructional support services in 2018.
He was an eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher, lead teacher and instructional coach from 2011 to 2015 in the Homer Central School District. From 2009 to 2011, he was a teacher and administrative intern at Middlesex County Public Schools in Saluda, Virgina. He launched his educational career in 2008 and 2009 as a seventh-grade writing and reading teacher in Lake Havasu, Ariz.
The two candidates will meet with and be interviewed by different groups today and Friday, including instructional and non-instructional staff, along with superintendents of the districts that participate in BOCES programs, Stephen Todd said.
From there, the board of education will determine which one, or both, should be interviewed by Betty Rosa, the interim state education commissioner. Rosa will then recommend an appointment to the BOCES Board of Education for a final decision.
The next few days will be important for providing information, Stephen Todd said.
“Stakeholder feedback is going to be important,” he said.
“I love and I’m thrilled with the opportunity,” DiFulvio said.
He said that he loved the work the organization does and that he would enjoy the opportunity to advocate for students and school districts at the state level.
“Our schools and our BOCES are very important for me,” he said.
Cook said the job for him would be about focusing on how to collaborate with students and teachers, which is what he enjoys about his current job.
He also said that fulfilling the role would help him help grow and provide opportunities for students who may be looking for something else besides college after high school.
“I think one size doesn’t fit all, so the ability for the students to focus on the skills to work, that’s where we need to be at,” he said.
Stephen Todd said there is no official date for when the next district superintendent will be named, but added the board hopes to be done “as early in the fall as possible.”