The Pleasantville Board of Education unanimously approved Wednesday evening the appointment of a Dutchess County educator to be the district’s next superintendent.
Dr. Tina DeSa, who has served as assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services for the Arlington School District for the past five years, will succeed Mary Fox-Alter on Jan. 1. Fox-Alter has led Pleasantville schools for 12 years and had announced her pending retirement in January.
DeSa will start as the district’s deputy superintendent on Nov. 1 as part of a two-month transition period.
“Pleasantville has a history of excellence in education and is clearly committed to working collaboratively to support all students,” DeSa said. “I look ahead with gratitude to lead and serve Pleasantville, a district focused on ensuring we set up learning experiences and nurture a culture that allows each student to be their very best self – as defined by them.”
Before her service for Arlington, DeSa worked for three years as principal of Nassau Elementary School in the Spackenkill Union Free School District in Poughkeepsie. She has also served as the network team leader for Dutchess BOCES where she supported teachers and administrators on learning standards, data-driven instruction and pedagogical practices that support teaching and learning.
DeSa started her education career as an elementary school teacher in several districts.
Outgoing Board of Education President Larry Boes said DeSa’s expertise in K-12 curriculum and instruction as well as leading the development of educators helped her stand out among the 50 candidates from across the United States who applied for the position.
DeSa impressed the board with her knowledge and assessment of the district.
“Her deep interest in Pleasantville and our schools was clear throughout the interview process in the research and astute observations she brought to our conversations, along with the insightful questions she asked,” a board statement read. “We feel confident that she will lead our schools in ways that maintain all that is special while pushing us to be even better for every student.”
Prior to attracting candidates for the post, consultants hired by the district from Strategic Educational Advantage conducted a community survey and held focus groups and interviews with more than 150 stakeholders from the district and community. Their work helped board members develop a candidate profile used to advertise for the position.
The board reduced the pool to 13 candidates whom they interviewed virtually, then whittled that group to six candidates. Four finalists were interviewed in person by the board and separately by an advisory panel of parents, teachers.
DeSa will soon begin meeting community members. The board will announce when those meetings will take place as they are scheduled.