LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s not easy to find candidates, but Dr. Clark Godshall is committed to help pick from the upper echelon of possibilities in the search for a new Lockport City School District Superintendent.

After the retirement of Michelle Bradley this past July, Michael Bonnewell has since stepped in to fill her shoes.

But for Bonnewell, whom Dr. Godshall says had previously retired as a school superintendent, it’s only an interim title.

Godshall wears many hats, serving as New York’s Senior BOCES Superintendent, the District Superintendent of Schools for the Orleans/Niagara BOCES in Medina and the search consultant in the effort to find a new leader in Lockport.

According to Dr. Godshall, it takes an average of about six months to find a new school Superintendent. So, the hope is to have a permanent hire in the position come March.

“Post-pandemic, it’s very difficult to find candidates nowadays, and I’m pretty pleased that we have 15 completed applications,” Dr. Godshall said.

With 18 candidates expressing interest and just a few less than that completing the application, the process of narrowing the number down is underway. Four candidates are from out of state, as far away as Michigan and Louisiana.

In finding the right person for the job, local residents have played a big factor.

Dr. Godshall says that over the course of four community input sessions, members of the Lockport school district community expressed that they’re looking for someone with a “good financial background” who’s a “people person” and “open.” Dr. Godshall also noted his pleasure in finding a diverse pool of candidates applying for the job.

“Lockport really wanted to open it up for a diverse candidate, so over half the candidates are diverse for this position, which I think that’s great,” Dr. Godshall said.

Of the 15 candidates who applied for the job, 10 hold a doctorate. Seven of the 15 are getting interviewed face-to-face, Dr. Godshall said.

With a competitive minimum salary of $185,000, Lockport is looking for someone who has found success as both a teacher and principal but also as a superintendent or central office administrator.

For those potential candidates, Lockport might not be the only school district they’re looking at.

“Even though we take hits about Buffalo, the western New York area is a nice area to reside in. Many of the candidates have family here or else they have previous service as a school administrator,” Dr. Godshall said.

The application deadline was this past Tuesday, and semi-finalist interviews are taking place through the 16th. Following that, final interviews will take place from January 3-7.

According to the New York State Department of Education, New York has 731 school districts and more than 2.5 million K-12 students in public schools. Superintendent turnover is pretty high, according to Dr. Godshall, who says “about 90” leave their job each year.

A three-year contract will be offered to the candidate who’s chosen. As the search continues, the search consultant says “it’s a pretty long process.”

“But again, it only takes one,” he says.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.