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New NNCS superintendent talks with board about goals

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NORFOLK - Even before he officially took over as district superintendent at Norwood-Norfolk Central School, James M. Cruikshank said he liked what he saw.

“My initial feeling is very strong, very positive,” Mr. Cruikshank told board of education members during his first meeting with them this week.

Mr. Cruikshank, who was appointed to a three-year term in March to take over for retiring Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie, said he spent a month-and-a-half attending random events in the district in a spectator capacity.

“I got a good vibe,” he said.

Mr. Cruikshank, principal at A.A. Kingston Middle School in Potsdam since 2007, had previously served as dean of students from 2006 to 2007, director of athletics from 2002 to 2003 and a math and science teacher from 1992 to 2007, all with the Potsdam Central School District.

Now that he’s on board at Norwood-Norfolk, he shared with school board members his “entry plan” to transition into his new role.

“I wanted to have you first look at how I’m planning to learn the culture at Norwood-Norfolk Central School,” Mr. Cruikshank said.

He told board members he didn’t plan to make any “huge changes,” but instead is meeting with different groups in the district such as administrators, supervisors and members of the local unions.

“After that I’ll come back and reflect with this group what I’ve learned,” he said.

Mr. Cruikshank, who is attending an administrative leadership conference this week, said that as he and the board of education set goals, he would like ways to ensure the tasks are on track and chart their progress. With a number of initiatives coming from the state Education Department, he said they need to make sure tasks are completed to stay in compliance with the directives.

“I’ll work with the administrative team in making sure we accomplish it. I need an organized way my team can get this done and chart the progress. Many (tasks) may be measurable. I need to come up with a concrete plan and you measure our progress. My vision is to have some form so you will be able to watch as we update our progress,” he said.

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