Dallastown residents saw a familiar face in front of them for Meet the Superintendent Candidates night.
And the other face may have been familiar for York County residents, too.
Dyer, the acting superintendent at Dallastown, and Thomas Newcome II, the superintendent at Octorara Area School District in Atglen, Pa., are the finalists in the school district's search for a permanent leader.
Both answered submitted questions from the audience inside Dallastown Area High School auditorium Thursday night as they wrapped up a day full of interviews with various focus groups from the district, from teachers to students.
The board hopes to make a decision by the end of June, said member Don Jasmann, as the field has been whittled from 17 to six to two.
Both finalists bring loads of experience. Dyer, 59, has been in education for more than three decades, starting in Virginia. He joined Dallastown as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in 2005, and took over as acting superintendent in February after the school board requested the resignation of then-superintendent Stewart Weinberg.
In answering questions, Dyer said he wants to be an "approachable superintendent" that staff members trust and community members support. He said he knows there is some work to be done to repair Dallastown's standing.
"We have some rocky ... perceptions of us in the community," he said before adding he thinks it's already on the mend.
Philosophically, Dyer said he approaches budgets cuts by "looking at what would affect students the least."
He also said Dallastown is "on the cusp of excellence," and wants to see it through as several programs he's been working on with staff, such as curriculum changes, are finalized.
Glen Rock's Newcome:: Dyer and Newcome seemed to agree on technology. Both said technology should be there to support, but not replace, educational methods.
Newcome, 52, said he thinks every student should take an online course before graduating, but "I'm not big on technology for technology's sake."
Newcome's parents live in Hanover and he lives in Glen Rock, so he said he has some personal reasons for not wanting to drive 60-plus miles through Lancaster to work everyday. If hired, he'd also be returning to his York roots, since he was Southern York's middle school principal in the 1990s.
But Newcome also said he wants the professional challenge of a new district. He said he'd lead the district with the idea that "high school graduation is not a completion. It's a step," and that he wants to push students to take the most challenging courses possible.
"An excellent education cannot be measured by a test taken one time a year on a single measure," Newcome said of standardized testing. A good education is about giving students "the requisite skills they need to go on in life doing the things they want to do."
Audience members submitted questions before the forum began instead of having a public comment period, but Jasmann encouraged anyone with feedback on the candidates to contact the board.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at email@example.com
* Current position: Acting Superintendent, Dallastown
* Previous positions include assistant superintendent in Dallastown and various district administrative positions and elementary teaching in Virginia
* Doctorate from Virginia Tech
Thomas Newcome II
* Current position: Superintendent, Octorara Area School District (Atglen, Pa.)
* Previous positions include assistant superintendent at Octorara, middle school principal in Southern York School District, and math teacher
* Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University