NEWARK — Susan Hasenauer began her new role as superintendent of Newark schools Monday with designs, she said, on keeping the district “moving forward.”

An integral part of that process will be learning about the challenges Newark educators, students and their families have faced for nearly a year as they’ve navigated the uncharted, uncertain waters of the “new normal” brought about by COVID-19.

“Teachers and administrators everywhere have had to pivot quickly and learn many new things and employ many new strategies to meet the diverse needs of their students during this time,” Hasenauer said in a news release. “Parents and families have had to do likewise, including readjusting their lives and schedules to support home learners or those with varying school schedules. As a parent of two school-age daughters, I’ve experienced some of the difficulties. The only constant is that nothing has stayed the same and things continue to change regularly.”

Hasenauer said she’s not hitting the pause button indefinitely on discussions about district objectives and initiatives, but for the immediate future is prioritizing “listening, learning and communication.”

“My ultimate goal is to continue moving the NCSD forward,” she continued. “I have no intention of losing sight of the values that focus on ‘Every student, Every day.’ In fact, I am looking forward to hearing how people have adapted and changed to meet the needs of all students while simultaneously hanging onto the traditions that make Newark amazing.

“I believe communication is critical and needs to be reciprocal. I will be asking for feedback in a variety of listening and learning activities with internal and external stakeholders to help me gather critical information about the needs of students, educators, families and community members. I know many have COVID fatigue and when this is over, I want to ensure that students, staff, families and community members feel engaged. Working together, we will keep students and staff safe and while successes may be gauged a little differently during these times, I believe by having a reliable compass in hand, we will be equipped to take on anything as a team and continue down a path of success and healing.”

Board of Education President Russ Harris is “infinitely confident” Hasenauer, who was appointed superintendent Feb. 3, is the right person for the job.

Hasenauer possesses more than 27 years of educational experience, 16 of which have been in leadership roles. Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Vicky Ramos, who spearheaded the search for Matt Cook’s successor, says Hasenauer has a proven track record of promoting student learning and success through effective leadership, district stakeholder collaboration, and innovative planning.

Hasenauer lives in Penfield with her daughters, Gabriella, 15, and Mia, 12 She has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from SUNY Geneseo, and masters degree in reading education and educational administration from The College at Brockport.

Dennis Ford had served as Newark’s interim superintendent since Cook’s departure in late October. Cook took a job as district superintendent of the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES.

Before she began her new duties, Hasenauer said she was looking forward to visiting all five of the district’s schools on her first day.

“I can’t wait to meet the students and staff,” she said, “and I also want the NCSD family to know my door is open and they can come to me with questions and or concerns.”

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