The West Seneca School Board has decided that interim superintendent Matthew Bystrak is the "best choice" to head the district permanently.
In a letter to the community posted on the district website, board members said they had "unanimously determined" that Bystrak was the best choice after a thorough review of applications.
But the board also asked an advisory committee made up of community and education representatives to meet as a group with Bystrak to hear his vision and plans for the district. The committee will provide feedback to the board before the board makes the final decision on the appointment.
"That weighs heavily coming back to the board," Board President Carol Jarczyk said of the advisory committee's views.
She said the board is not revealing how many applications it received, but she said board members spent two separate nights going through the applications. The board did not interview any other candidates, she said.
"It wasn't easy, but it wasn't that hard to make this decision," she said.
Bystrak has served as interim superintendent since July 10, when the board fired the previous interim, Whitney K. Vantine.
Superintendent Mark Crawford had announced in November 2016 that he was retiring, and he left the district April 28, when Vantine took over.
The board had hired a search consultant, but after residents objected to the lack of community involvement in the selection process, the search for a permanent head was put on hold in February 2017.
Bystrak, who served as West Seneca’s director of pupil personnel before being appointed interim, was able to reach new contract agreements with teachers and support staff in November, eight months before their old agreements were to expire.