Last week, members of the Bridgehampton community turned out at a board of education work session to meet the district’s new superintendent, Dr. Lois Favre, who will replace Dr. Dianne Youngblood in August when she retires after seven years at the helm of the Bridgehampton Union Free School District.
After a casual meet-and-greet between Dr. Favre, members of the board, parents, teachers and students, the board formerly appointed Dr. Favre deputy superintendent beginning July 1. After a month under Dr. Youngblood’s wing, Dr. Favre will take over the superintendent’s position on August 3. Her contract as superintendent is for three years.
Dr. Favre beat out 53 candidates for the position, which will reportedly pay $192,000 per year.
On Monday, Dr. Favre said she was drawn to apply for the position at Bridgehampton, in part because of its size.
“I began my teaching career in a small middle school and loved that I knew all my students and their families, so I believe that idea is what drew me to apply for the opportunity to serve as district superintendent of the Bridgehampton School community,” she said, acknowledging it was not quite as small as Bridgehampton’s 162-person student body.
Dr. Favre said she was also interested in finding a school with a diverse population, a supportive community “and a talented group of professionals working together in the best interest of the children.”
“I was drawn to the children that I saw on the website, and the community that encouraged much from their students in terms of giving back to the community, and especially to those in need,” she said. “I was also drawn by the challenges of a district so small – the challenges of meeting state standards with small groups of diverse learners, assuring challenging curriculum with a small, but talented, staff, and the vision and creativity needed to overcome those challenges and shine.”
Dr. Favre is currently the assistant superintendent of the Lakeland Central School District, located in upstate New York, and has served in that position since 2005. Prior to that, Dr. Favre spent four years at Monroe-Woodbury Central School District as director of pupil personnel services for special education.
Lakeland Central School District boasts over 6,000 students, and Dr. Favre said this week the skills needed to accomplish her work in such a large school district have taught her the value of consensus building, meeting deadlines, planning for the future and ensuring transparency within the school district and the decisions it makes on behalf of the community.
“These skills are necessary in any organization and my experience in bigger districts, in various positions, has provided me with the many skills needed as the leader of a district where my responsibilities cross the lines of instruction, special education, human resources, budget oversight and team-building across stakeholder groups – as they will in Bridgehampton,” she said.
Dr. Favre added that during trying economic times, coupled with added accountability required by state and federal governments, the challenges school administrators face are numerous, but that she was confident the Bridgehampton School community would be able to meet those challenges head on.
During the transition month, when Dr. Favre will work with Dr. Youngblood in the district, she said she looked forward to meeting with all the stakeholders in the Bridgehampton community, and plans to establish a schedule for community meetings with any groups interested in learning more about Bridgehampton’s new superintendent.
“I am certain that the Bridgehampton community will quickly see that I have an open door policy, and I am a very hands-on administrator, willing to listen,” said Dr. Favre.
In fact, in her first year as superintendent, Dr. Favre said her goal, “first and foremost,” was getting to know the students, staff and families of the Bridgehampton School community.
“After that, my goals for the district will be distinctly tied to the board of education goals,” she said, adding the work of Dr. Youngblood and the staff on building literacy, celebrating the arts, focusing on health and wellness programs and technology are all things she hopes to build on. “From there, as an educational team, we will review data, celebrate success, review any gaps and build on the current plan.”
So far, Dr. Favre said she has been given a warm welcome by the Bridgehampton community, both during a tour of the school last Wednesday where she was able to meet students and faculty, as well as at that evening’s meet-and-greet.
“Staff were upbeat and very positive and approachable,” she said. “Students were friendly, polite, warm and welcoming, and most articulate. Parents and staff who came out to the board meeting were encouraging, and seemed very committed to their students. Change is not easy – and it takes time to build trust and assure people that you are who you claim to be. I appreciate the warm welcome – it tells me that they are willing to give me a chance. That is all a new leader can ask for – the rest will be up to me.”