Wheeler leaving Bainbridge-Guilford

Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District is once again looking for a new superintendent.

The notice that Donald Wheeler would not be returning appeared in the December issue of the district newsletter, the Blue and White.

The newsletter arrived in the midst of Christmas holiday preparations, and, since the information was on an inside page, many district residents are just learning the news in January.

As the news has gotten out, visits to my blog post about Donald Wheeler’s appointment in 2011 have spiked.

Before giving the school board formal notice of his intent not to return when his contract ended, Wheeler had put up a website and was actively seeking another position: He was a finalist in September for the superintendent’s post at Mount Markham.

It is clear from the B-G board minutes, however, that receiving Wheeler’s letter Oct. 20, 2015 was just a formality as far as its members were concerned.

Two weeks earlier, the board met in special executive session with the consultant helping them seek a new superintendent. The vacancy brochure for the superintendent’s position was discussed at length at that meeting.

By the time Wheeler submitted his letter of intent to the board, the application deadline for his B-G job was already set for Dec. 11, 2015.

Wheeler’s tenure has not been without its difficulties.

In the spring of 2014, a Binghamton television station reported that a majority of Bainbridge-Guilford teachers disapproved of Wheeler’s leadership.

The district teacher’s union president told the TV station that 89 percent of the district’s teachers responded to his survey regarding Wheeler’s leadership.

Of those, more than 84 percent said they did consider Wheeler a credible leader of the school community. Nearly 89 percent of respondents said they did not think Wheeler demonstrated ethical, trustworthy, and professional behavior.

The survey results were submitted to the B-G board of education.

Wheeler is currently a finalist for the top job at the Cohoes City Schools, and is one of three finalists for the superintendent’s job at Lewiston-Porter Central School District.

The search for a new superintendent is being facilitated by Alan Pole, formerly DCMO BOCES superintendent, currently a consultant with Castallo and Silky.

Disclosure: I participated as a community representative in interviews of candidates for the Bainbridge-Guilford superintendent’s job in 2011.