Manchester school chief finalists named

Manchester school chief finalists named

Overview

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER — Two school superintendent finalists — both from out-of-state — will be considered by the full Manchester Board of School Committee on Sept. 24.

Special Committee on the Superintendent Search Chairman Debra Langton, Ward 2 school board member, told the New Hampshire Union Leader Tuesday night that after an extensive search, her committee has forwarded two names to the board — Dr. Bolgen Vargas, a former interim superintendent for the Rochester, N.Y., school district, and Dr. Vincent Cotter, president and co-founder of the Exemplary Schools Organization and former superintendent of schools in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

The two will tour the district on Sept. 23 and meet with the full Board of School Committee the following day.

The search, which reportedly drew 37 candidates from 18 states and one Canadian province, was conducted by executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA). HYA narrowed the field to six semi-finalist candidates, who were interviewed last week by members of the Special Committee on the Superintendent Search.

Committee members then narrowed the field to three. According to Langton, one finalist withdrew for personal reasons.

According to information provided by the search committee, finalist Dr. Bolgen Vargas is currently self-employed as an educational consultant.

In May 2011, Dr. Vargas was appointed as interim superintendent of the Rochester City School District in upstate New York, an urban district with more than 30,000 students and a budget of more than $800 million and 6,000 employees.

Vargas served as superintendent from July 2012 to December 2015, “where he addressed the structural budget deficit and was able to shift resources to expand vital services to students and to reinvest in art, music, sports, extracurricular activities, special education, English language learners, and career and technical education,” according to background information provided by the committee.

Vargas served eight years as a commissioner on the Rochester Board of Education, including four as president, and two decades as a school counselor in the Greece Central School District, a suburban district in Greece, N.Y. He received his doctorate in education leadership and organization from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a master’s in school counseling, both from the State University of New York at Brockport.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Vargas immigrated to the United States as a high school student who spoke only Spanish.

The second finalist, Dr. Vincent Cotter, was a finalist for Manchester superintendent in 2013. He serves as president and co-founder of the Exemplary Schools Organization and was superintendent of schools for the Colonial School District in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., for 11 years.

Cotter was the primary innovator of the “Reaching Above and Beyond” program, earning him the international Juran Medal (2011) in the field of education for sustained systemic improvement.

Cotter also served as principal of the largest suburban high school in the North Penn School District, Landsdale, Pa., and has also worked as a middle school principal, district curriculum supervisor, assistant principal, and teacher in urban and suburban school districts during his 40-year career.

A graduate of Temple University’s doctoral program, Cotter was awarded a Legislative Recognition Award (2011), the National Public Relations Association Bob Grossman Award (2006) and was nominated as teacher of the year in Philadelphia as a special education teacher. – See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/Manchester-school-chief-finalists-named-09072016#sthash.z9q3v5D5.dpuf