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References

Hastings on Hudson BOE

We are pleased to write this letter of recommendation for District Wise Search Consultants for their support in two superintendent searches over the past three years. In 2017, after a thorough search, we hired a Superintendent who left the district after ten months for reasons outside of District Wise’s foresight and control. The utmost professionals, Bob and Joann made good on their promise to run a second full search for us free of charge in the 18-19 school year. They again brought their full energy and focus to this second search, rolling up their sleeves and working side-by-side with us.

Following are a few of the areas where we found that they truly excelled. 

o   Co-creating the specification with us – We had surveyed our community and had a good idea of what we were looking for in a superintendent. District Wise then conducted community forums to get more nuance around our key requirements. This was a critical step as it helped ensure that people’s voices were heard, allowing us to craft a specification that aligned with community desires. 

o   Strategic use of advertising – District Wise suggested a much smaller advertising budget than we had originally planned. In their experience, a few targeted ads in the right spots successfully signaled that we were looking without wasting time and money. This turned out to be a smart idea. 

o   Thoughtful and proactive candidate search – Rather than sit back and wait for candidates to apply or rely on old lists of known professionals, District Wise proactively networked to find candidates who weren’t looking, but who might be a good fit based on our requirements. This proved to be extremely useful as several finalists came from this proactive outreach. 

o   Board and community interview process – District Wise was very thorough in prepping materials on all candidates, prepping the board for our interviews, and prepping a community panel for their interviews. 

o   Going above and beyond expectations – We had a compressed schedule within which to find a new superintendent. Despite District Wise’s concerns about this, they agreed to accelerate parts of the search, stepping up and delivering above our expectations. They took calls over holidays and weekends and worked through a variety of other challenges to make sure all was executed smoothly and on time. They were true professionals. 

We are deeply thankful for the support and guidance that District Wise provided from start to finish. 

Hastings on Hudson BOE 2018-2019
Doug Sundheim
President, Hastings on Hudson Union Free School District 
Board of Education


Center Moriches BOE

I would like to take this opportunity strongly recommend District Wise Search Consultants to conduct a search or recruit candidates for your school district.  The Superintendent for Center Moriches was in led our district for 9 years and was contemplating retirement.  The Board had a difficult decision as to how to manage the entire process relating to hiring a superintendent.  The decision was made a bit more difficult as a result of the fact that there was a potential to have internal candidates apply for the position.

The Center Moriches School District board of education opted to hire a third-party firm to help guide us in the interview process.  From the first meeting, Bob Freier and Joann Kaplan of District Wise instilled immense confidence. They brought great suggestions on managing the search, defining the requirements for the board and the community through many community, staff and student forums, recruiting appropriate candidates that met the Board's criteria and managing the interview process.

We received a significant number of resumes that met our criteria, and access to all was made simple through the portal that District Wise set up for reviewing all materials. Joann and Bob were helpful in talking through the qualities of each candidate and ultimately recommended a slate for in-person interviews with the board. That's where the real value add of utilizing their services was apparent. The level of detail that was provided concerning each candidate was head and shoulders above other firms I have utilized in past searches in the professional arena.  We were provided not only with full resumes and experiences but letters of recommendation, background notes from detailed interviews conducted by the search firm and a clear understandable process map for the board to conduct interviews.

Joann was extremely helpful in talking through the positive and negative attributes that each candidate presented, as well as talking through specific concerns raised regarding each candidate. When the Board made the ultimate decision, the firm was professional in helping to manage discussions with those candidates who were not selected. 

In short, I strongly recommend utilizing the services of District Wise. The benefits of finding the right fit for our district and streamlining an arduous and daunting process significantly outweighed the cost.   Please feel free to call me with any questions.

Center Moriches BOE 2018-2019
Joshua Foster
President, Center Moriches Union Free School District 
Board of Education


East Hampton Union Free School District

I fully recommend with enthusiasm the District Wise Search Consultants! It is refreshing to note that Joann Kaplan and Robert Freier stand by their word that their search for a replacement is custom tailored to the specific needs of a district. In February, when the East Hampton School District learned of the retirement of the Assistant Superintendent of Business for the following June, the district knew it had its work cut out to find a quality replacement in a limited amount of time. Everyone working in administration knows that finding a Business Official for a school district is difficult. Besides the time limitation for finding a qualified Business Official, the East Hampton School District also faced another disadvantage- its location. The district is situated on the easternmost part of Long Island- a place which requires a difficult commute for its staff. Joann Kaplan and Robert Freier immediately rose to the challenge. They even started their search for a business official before they were officially Board appointed. They were consummate professionals- dedicated and hardworking individuals throughout the entire search. Through our daily conversations I knew that the district was in safe hands and was insured that we were on the same page with the candidate we were seeking. They were responsive to every inquiry and concern of the district. I am confident that any district would be fully satisfied hiring Joann and Bob to find qualified people to fill administrative vacancies. The East Hampton School Board and administrative team are more than pleased with the results and look forward to calling on their expertise when needed for future district vacancy searches.

East Hampton Superintendent 2018
Richard Burns
Superintendent of Schools, East Hampton Union Free School District


Valley Stream 24 Union Free School District

We just completed our hiring process for our new superintendent, although it is obviously one of the most important decisions a Board needs to make, it went quite smoothly thanks to Joann and Bob.  We were very glad to have District Wise on our side. They truly have a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and the respect of many within their field.  Joann and Bob made themselves available to us every step of the way, whether it was a phone call, text or email; responses were immediate.  Joann was very detail oriented and organized when providing us her binders of each applicant.  This information was vital to us to make an informed decision.  It was a sigh of relief to finalize the contract with our new superintendent timely, and it would have been very difficult without District Wise being there to guide us putting together each piece of the puzzle.


Valley Stream 24 2017-2018
John Maier
President, Valley Stream 24 Union Free School District

 

Springs Union Free School District

Here at Springs School we have, in recent memory, conducted a number of Superintendent searches but none as successful as the one conducted by District Wise Search Consultants. They have a process that has been developed through experience and makes perfect sense.

As a small district on the Eastern End of Long Island we have in past searches had a dearth of stellar candidates – not so this time! DWSC is capable of not just pulling in candidates through traditional advertising means but of reaching out to unsuspecting potential candidates as well. In this manner, we had both a wide slate to choose from and a number of candidates who were in the mix because they wanted to be in OUR school, not just any school. DWSC was truly instrumental in finding the perfect candidates for us and our particular situation. In fact, the ultimate decision was a very difficult one as we really had to parse the different qualifications of our finalists against each other. 

In addition to exceptional candidates, DWSC brings incredible communication to the table. The process is thoroughly explained and Bob and Joann are always available to answer questions or just be there for support. They are both delightful to work with and are pretty much on call once they are part of your search team.

I can’t recommend them highly enough for both their results and ease of working with.

Springs BOE 2016-2017
Barbara Dayton
President, Springs Union Free School District


Shoreham Wading River Central School District

The Shoreham-Wading River Central School District had the opportunity to work with Bob and Joann of District Wise in connection with our recent Superintendent search. District Wise took the time to learn the needs and desires of our community through a series of focus groups, and spent considerable time with the Board of Education, to tailor the search for our new Superintendent. A comprehensive background was assembled for all the candidates, and information was timely provided to the Board. The pool of candidates provided to the District was truly impressive.

District Wise, through almost daily contact, ensured that the hiring timeline was adhered to, despite the varied requests from a seven member Board. The process resulted in excellent final candidates for Board consideration. While difficult, the Board had the benefit of selecting from highly qualified applicants. Throughout the process, professionalism was maintained and confidentiality was stressed.

Joann was always available and took a true interest in our District and it's culture. Even after our new Superintendent was announced and appointed, she continued to reach out to ensure the District, Board and new Superintendent got off to a productive start. It was a pleasure working with them from start to finish.

Shoreham-Wading River BOE 2016-2017
John Zukowski

President, Shoreham Wading River Central School District


Seaford Union Free School District

Joann and Bob from District Wise were instrumental in our search for a Superintendent of Schools. They were professional and always available to answer any questions. Not only did they present qualified candidates to the board, but they also provided valuable advice based on their knowledge and experience. I wholeheartedly recommend them for your search. 

Seaford BOE 2016-2017
Bruce Kahn
President, Seaford Union Free School District


Sachem central School District

The Sachem Board of Education would like to officially send this letter of recommendation thanking you for your excellent efforts to locate a new Superintendent of Schools for our school district.  

You listened carefully to the Board’s requirements for this most important position, and provided us with a slate of qualified candidates.

Once again, your knowledge of the recruitment process and skills in this area provided us with a prospective candidate that not only meets but exceeds our goals for this position.
Sachem BOE 2015-2016
Anthony Falco
President, Sachem Central School District


Babylon Union Free School District

One of the smartest decisions that our Board of Education made was to utilize the skills of the District Wise Search Consultants. Bob Freier and Joann Kaplan are an outstanding combination. District Wise not only advertises the search; they recruit and vet candidates who are ideal matches for the district. They are extremely knowledgeable, honest and conscientious. I was immediately impressed with the organization of our Superintendent search. Bob and Joann listened to our district’s vision of our next Superintendent. They helped us every step of the way. Bob and Joann not only provided us with extraordinary candidates, they exceeded our expectations! Through their diligence our Board of Education was able to choose our district’s next Educational leader.

Babylon BOE 2014-2015
Lisa McKeown
President, Babylon Union Free School District Board of Education


Hewlett/Woodmere Union Free School District

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Joann Kaplan, Bob Freier, and District Wise Search Consultants. 

The hiring of a new superintendent is the most important thing any school board can do and an opportunity not every trustee gets to engage in during their term of service. When that opportunity presented itself in Hewlett-Woodmere, we not only knew how important the final decision would be, but also the importance of how we handled the process in order to ensure that our community felt that they were included and that their voices were heard. 

After interviewing multiple search firms we felt that the more “traditional” firms (comprised of retired superintendents using their network of fellow superintendents to find new superintendents) seemed a little incestuous and would not give us the kind of process we and our community was looking for. After meeting Bob & Joann, we felt extremely confident not only in their professional abilities, but also that their experience as former board members would be invaluable in helping them understand our needs from our perspective and the perspective
of our community. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. 

Each interaction or event with Bob & Joann only went to reinforce our belief that we made the right decision in selecting them. They conducted multiple meetings with our staff and community members and all of the feedback we received was outstanding. They made everyone feel included, listened to, and confident in the process. They accommodated our requests to make it as open a process as possible and we finished the feedback phase having given everyone in our community every opportunity to express themselves. 

The slate of candidates they recruited and provided to us was outstanding and the individuals were all in line with what we, and our community, had said we were looking for. Their guidance and feedback through the interview process was invaluable and they maintained a great balance of helping us along while still making sure it was our process. I don’t think it could have gone any better. 

Once we came to the final decision and made an offer to the final candidate, they were an integral part of working out the some of the finer details and getting us all to the finish line. As president of the Board I was on the phone with them constantly and they were always available, always willing to provide their best advice, and I honestly believe we would not have been able to be as successful in our outcome if not for them. 

When I was checking their references after their initial interview I called a board president from a district they had recently completed a search with and while I was in the middle of introducing myself and telling him why I was calling he stopped me and said, “I don’t mean to cut you off but let me make this simple: Hire them! They were wonderful, they “get it” and you won’t have any regrets having used them.” He was 100% correct and I hope to one day have the opportunity to give the same endorsement when I get a call from someone thinking about using them in the future. 

If you have any questions, or I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to call.


Hewlett/Woodmere BOE 2014-2015
Scott McInnes
President, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools


Herricks Union Free School District

The Herricks School District embarked on a very difficult task in March 2014. We learned that our two top administrators were going to retire within 6 months of each other. The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Personnel was planning to leave on
December 31, 2014 and our Superintendent the following
June 30th, 2015. Our original plan was to have the current Superintendent conduct a search for the retiring Assistant Superintendent. The Board would interview search firms, select one and have the company find a suitable replacement to fill the Superintendents position.

After interviewing three firms, two of which were some of the oldest and most experienced in the education search field, the Herricks Board of Education selected District Wise Search Consultants. Both Bob Freier and Joann Kaplan seemed to understand how education in New York State had changed recently, and, being past school board members was truly an invaluable benefit. More importantly, they understood us, knew the daunting and challenging task ahead and made us feel most comfortable about their abilities to work side by side with us as a team. We knew they would present us options and offer us opinions on ways to be successful at the search and selection process. We were so impressed with them, their professionalism and sincerity, that we revisited our decision about the Assistant Superintendent replacement and added that search to Bob and Joann’s responsibilities. 

Hiring District Wise Search Consultants was the best decision we made. One cannot do better than them and their expertise. Bob and Joann have the intellect, values, professionalism and passion for this work. The candidates brought to us were of the highest caliber, were exactly what we were looking for and created for us a great challenge, which person to choose for both positions. In the end, they exceeded all our goals and expectations, and I am confident they will do the same for you and your district’s search as well.

Herricks BOE 2014-2015
James Gounaris
President, Herricks Union Free School District Board of Education


Glen Cove City School District

Our Board was very happy with the services provided to us by District Wise Search Consultants, culminating in a very strong slate of candidates for our Superintendent search. Bob and Joann assisted us in every aspect of our search, to whatever extent -- sometimes large, sometimes small -- that we chose. That is, we were able to tailor DWSC's services to our liking. For example, they took the reins of our public forum, while staying out of the Board's private deliberations without interference. They knew when to step back and when to step in, because Bob and Joann are former Board Trustees themselves ... and because they listened to us. Perhaps most important, DWSC has an outstanding network of contacts in the Long Island educational community, which provided for a very strong pool of candidates. They then vetted those people for us, limiting our time commitment to the interviewing and consideration of only the strongest candidates who were the best match for our District. We had several great choices among our slate, ultimately choosing a Superintendent who we are unanimously thrilled about. Although DWSC was just coming into this line of business, to our Board, we preferred having consultants who understood what it was like to be a Board Trustee, and who were familiar with the Long Island educational community in particular.

Glen Cove BOE 2012-13
Joel Sunshine
President, Glen Cove City School District Board of Education


Poughkeepsie City School District

The Board of Education of the Poughkeepsie City School District utilized the services of District Wise Search Consultants for its Superintendent Search conducted during the Spring of 2013. Bob Frier and Joann Kaplan were friendly, hardworking and diligent in their efforts to understand the District's needs. District Wise spent countless hours in person, by telephone and utilizing electronic communication to carefully plan and carry­ out a process and timeline that allowed the Board to meet its goal to hire a new Superintendent for a July 1, 2013 start date.


District Wise successfully recruited applicants which met all of the criteria identified by the Board for its next Superintendent of Schools. In fact, there were a number of excellent candidates that applied for the position and the pool of candidates was qualified and diverse. District Wise's recommendations regarding the search process, media advertisements and places to recruit from, were all well-reasoned, financially conservative and yielded excellent results. The Board ultimately selected Dr. Nicole Williams, who they believe to be an ideal match for the Poughkeepsie City School District. The Board and Dr. Williams are appreciative of the efforts of District Wise and are pleased to have had their assistance.

Poughkeepsie BOE 2012-2013
Ralph Coates
President, Poughkeepsie City School District Board of Education


East Williston Union Free School District

I am entering my fifth year as a member of the East Williston School District Board of Education. I have served the last four years with Mr. Robert Freier. During the last two years, I held the position as President with Mr. Freier as my Vice President.

Throughout those years I found Mr. Freier to be a truly dedicated trustee. As officers of the Board, we have discussed every issue at length. I can say with confidence that every decision he made was always for the benefit of the students. 

Our Board was very fortunate to have Mr. Freier around during this past school year. In early April 2012, a week before school break, our Superintendent informed the Board that she would be leaving for another school district. Suddenly we were faced with a rapidly approaching end of the school year and the need to start a Superintendent search. Fortunately, Mr. Freier being an executive recruiter and chief principal of his own Search Firm was there to help.

He immediately went to work by speaking to people who we considered "leaders" in the educational field or as he calls them “his trusted network”. He developed a list of names that we would target. Mr. Freier developed an online application and the position was then posted. Each candidate that applied was ensured confidentiality so that no resumes would go through the central office.

Mr. Freier managed and handled the entire recruiting process for the Board. He also had the difficult task of scheduling interviews and juggling the availability of all parties involved. This often included Saturdays and Sundays and several late night sessions. All of the prospects on the initial target group were interviewed. In addition, those who were not solicited, but applied through the posting process, were vetted and researched by Mr. Freier. The Board was then able to have informative discussions about all candidates.

The Board narrowed its choices down to two outstanding candidates. They each meet with representatives from the community, staff and administration. Ultimately, the choice the Board made was one from its initial target group. 
Mr. Freier, along with the district’s attorney, prepared for the Board a contract that was competitive both in terms and salary. Mr. Freier’s insight helped the Board to collectively come up with terms and conditions that would go into our offer, which was ultimately accepted.

Our district owes Mr. Freier its gratitude for being in charge of this process and helping East Williston to choose an exceptional candidate.
Mark Kamberg
President, East Williston School District Board of Education