HFM BOCES appoints interim director

The HFM BOCES Board of Education appointed Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy, shown right, to serve as the interim district superintendent of HFM BOCES during Wednesday's meeting following the retirement of Dr. Patrick Michel earlier this month. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

JOHNSTOWN — The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Board of Education approved the state’s appointment of current Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy as interim district superintendent at HFM.

Murphy was selected as interim district superintendent for HFM BOCES by the state Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia following the retirement of Patrick Michel from the position earlier this month, after seven years in the position and a total of 33 years working in public education.

The state is required by law to appoint a sitting district superintendent from a bordering BOCES to serve as interim district superintendent when a vacancy for that position occurs.

The HFM BOCES Board of Education unanimously approved Murphy’s interim appointment during Wednesday’s meeting effective retroactively on Aug. 13.

Murphy will continue in her current position with Capital Region BOCES while serving HFM, dividing her time between the two districts.

“I’ll be here a couple days a week and there,” murphy said Wednesday. “I’ll be back and forth as I need to be.”

HFM will reimburse Capital Region for Murphy’s mileage during the course of her appointment and occasional incidental costs.

Board of Education President Joanne Freeman welcomed Murphy to the district after introducing the resolution concerning her appointment.

“I look forward to working with you and I know the rest of the board is excited to have you on board. Hopefully we’ll be able to return you to Cap Region in one piece and in a timely manner,” Freeman said before giving Murphy the chance to introduce herself.

Murphy began working as the district superintendent for Capital Region BOCES in July 2017. Prior to Capital Region, she served as the superintendent to the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District in Oswego County, deputy superintendent for both the Rochester and Syracuse City School Districts and the director of instruction for Albany City Schools.

She also previously worked for the state Education Department as the associate commissioner of curriculum, instruction and field services and began her career as a teacher and the director of instructional data in the Binghamton City School District.

Murphy also took the opportunity to commend HFM’s support staff and administrators for their work and assistance during her transition into her dual roles.

“I’m really happy to be here and thank you very much for having me,” Murphy said.

During her time at HFM Murphy said she plans to focus on maintaining BOCES in its current capacity and working with district superintendents at component schools to ensure the program is meeting their needs.

“HFM is in a really good place,” Murphy said. ” To keep it going in a positive direction is a goal.”

Murphy will lead HFM BOCES until a permanent district superintendent is selected by the Board of Education, subject to state approval.

Before the search for a permanent superintendent can commence, a survey regarding HFM BOCES must be administered according to state education law to collect input from all component school districts and bordering BOCES.

Districts are surveyed on whether administrators feel that HFM BOCES should be broken up into smaller services or assimilated into other BOCES.

Before his departure Michel estimated this process would take about six months and said the education department will likely send researchers to review the district’s financial records as well.

Following review, the commissioner will determine whether HFM BOCES should remain unchanged or be combined with another BOCES according to the needs of the region or particular programs. If combined with another district, HFM BOCES could inherit the other district’s leadership.

If the state decides not to make any changes to HFM BOCES, then a district superintendent from another BOCES, aside from Murphy, will be selected by the state to work with Board of Education to conduct a search for the new district superintendent.