By Dustin Koury
The search is over.
Bec Kurzynske has been selected as the school district’s superintendent.
In a press release issued on Monday, Feb. 22, it states that the selection culminates a four-month search process that engaged the community in interviewing candidates and providing feedback to the board of education in its decision.
Contractual details are being finalized.
“Bec is experienced and has held a wide range of both teaching and administrative roles in her years with the Pulaski Community School District,” said Board of Education President Robert Skalitzky. “She understands the values of our community and has a passion and enthusiasm for serving our children, families, and everyone who has a stake in the performance of our outstanding community schools. She has also handled the role of interim superintendent admirably over almost a year, and the board has full faith in her as our district’s new Superintendent.”
Kurzynske stated that she has been blessed to be a part of the community and of the wonderful public schools.
““I look forward to working with staff, students, and the community for years to come, and I thank the board for having faith in me to best serve the interests of our diverse district,” Kurzynske said in the press release.
Trust, communication, and how best to move the district forward were the topics of most interest as community members were able to meet and speak with the final two candidates for the Pulaski Superintendent search on Monday, Feb. 15, during a meet-and-greet in the Pulaski High School Library. Finalists Rich Appel of the Chilton School District and Kurzynski each spoke with staff and community members prior to answering questions.
Among the topics discussed, Appel outlined his experience as a leader in the military, as a coach, and even as director of musicals in his current District and expressed his joy in being able to watch his students grow. Kurzynski outlined her career in the District from her time student teaching to her current role as Personnel Director and Interim Superintendent.
When asked about the single most important item to address as the new Superintendent, Appel focused on building relationships and repairing trust with the community. “I need to be a good listener,” said Appel, adding that he must build relationships with community members in order to understand why mistrust or frustration with the District may be present for some individuals. Appel said that his primary focus would be to make sure that staff, students, and community members all feel sincerely valued. “They must know that their view and input is important and will be listened to,” said Appel, stating that he felt that this new approach would help to improve morale in the District and help make people feel valued in the process of community education.
Kurzynski stated that having been with the District for a number of years, her most important item to address would be to look at all of the different initiatives currently present in public education and to unite those initiatives. Kurzynski stated that she would like to help the public to better understand what is happening in the schools, stating that the District must “be very deliberate about communication and focus on our work and share the great work that we do.”
In regard to how best to help the Pulaski School District compete and continue to grow, Appel stated that it is incredibly important for people who work and live in the District to feel valued and have pride in their schools. Appel said that students, community members, and staff will stay in or come to the District once those connections are built and those individuals can feel that they are a part of a unique program with multiple opportunities for the kids. Kurzynski stated that the District has outstanding schools, and acknowledged that Pulaski is not the only great district in the area. According to Kurzynski, Pulaski can continue to be a “fabulous” district by networking with colleagues and researching about what neighboring districts are doing. “It is not a matter of keeping up, but about providing students and the community with what they need,” said Kurzynski.
Following the event, the Pulaski Review asked ten individuals who had attended what their opinions were regarding the candidates’ responses. Most of the individuals questioned spoke on condition of remaining anonymous, as they were staff in the district or did not want to offend either of the candidates. The consensus among those questioned favored Appel, with all respondents stating that they felt he would do a better job as Superintendent. When asked to explain the preference for Mr. Appel, one community member said, “The leadership. He came across as a stronger candidate. I just hope the School Board makes the right decision.”
Community member Mary Baranczyk said, “I thought he was a great candidate. I think he showed that he is a caring person and that is what our staff, students, and community needs: someone who is truly going to listen.”
Both candidates were interviewed in closed session with the School Board following the public comments.