YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A consulting firm that will lead the search for a new superintendent has been hired by the Yorktown Central School District Board of Education.

At its March 20 meeting, the school board unanimously authorized President Jackie Carbone to sign a $19,500 contract, plus expenses, with Strategic Educational Advantage, a New Jersey-based firm led by two former school superintendents: Dr. Michael D. Kuchar and Dr. Frank V. Auriemma.

Kuchar, a full-time professor at Seton Hall University, was superintendent of schools in Bergenfield, N.J., for 11 years before resigning last year. Before that, he was principal of Dobbs Ferry High School around the same time retiring Yorktown Superintendent Dr. Ralph Napolitano was principal of Pleasantville High School. Kuchar said he has an “affinity” for Napolitano, calling him “irreplaceable.”

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“But we are going to do our best on behalf of the many thousands of children you have here to find a great fit as your next educational leader,” Kuchar said.

Auriemma was superintendent of schools in Pearl River for 11 years before retiring in 2011.

“Be assured we take this process very seriously,” Auriemma said. “Personnel, no matter what level it’s on, is all about fit. We’re going to try our best, our absolute best, to get candidates before the board that are going to be a good fit for this community and for these children.”

Kuchar said the search process will be open to the public, with him and Auriemma interviewing “key stakeholders” in the district, creating a survey, and holding a community forum.

It’s important, Kuchar said, to understand a community and the attributes its residents desire in a leader before interviewing candidates.

“The board of education has given us really strong guidelines to get as much input as possible and to keep the process transparent to the public,” Kuchar said. Both men were scheduled to meet with the board last Monday “in a retreat planning session to go over how we’re going to accomplish this,” he said

Trustee Michael Magnani said the school board interviewed two firms before making its decision (a third firm pulled out of a scheduled interview). Magnani said Strategic Educational Advantage was selected because it is a smaller firm and able to provide more attention to Yorktown; the administrative experience of Kuchar and Auriemma; and its willingness to meet Yorktown’s “condensed” timeline.