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Dobbs Ferry Seeking New Head of Special Ed

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Since Linda Lee resigned about six weeks ago, the Dobbs Ferry school district has been searching for someone new to lead the special education program while bringing in a former director in the meantime.

“They just called me and said Linda would be leaving and asked me if I would shepherd the district until they found someone new,” said Phyllis Conley, interim director of pupil personnel services.

Doug Berry, the director of curriculum and instruction in the school district, said the goal is to have someone appointed by no later than June 21, which is the last Board of Education meeting of that month.  Berry added that the district would not settle in its search for a new special education director.

“The most important thing for us is that we have the right person so if we go through this process this spring and if we end up with someone who is not meeting the bar for us we’ll go backwards and start all over again because having the right person in place is much more important than having a person,” he said.

The school district held an open forum with Conley and Berry taking comments and questions from parents on Monday morning. Many parents were excited about the search and who the district could be bringing in.

“We don’t approach things in a cookie cutter way,” said Dobbs Ferry resident Shannon Johnson.  “We give them exactly what they need.”

Many parents also voiced concerns they had as something that should be addressed by any potential replacements.

“I also think the collaboration between the special education and the general education teachers needs to be revamped,” said Dobbs Ferry resident Mary McNamara.

Conley, who was the director of pupil personnel services for five years before retiring in 2010, said filling the position will not be easy because of the challenges it poses, but she believes the district has already taken great strides.

“We have really been effective in developing an inclusive school district and that means our kids belong here, but that requires ongoing work with the staff, with families, with the community to make sure we are maintaining the skills of kids and have them grow,” she said.

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