LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — One of Onondaga County’s largest school districts will have a new superintendent come July 1st. The Liverpool Board of Education appointed deputy superintendent Dan Henner to the position during a tense Board of Education meeting Thursday night. 

Many community members showed up to the meeting dressed in black expressing that the future of the district would be dark if Dan Henner was appointed as Mark Potter’s successor. Teachers and parents expressed concerns about the search process and Henner’s ability to lead the district. 

NewsChannel 9’s Madison Moore brought those concerns directly to Henner in an interview on Friday, but Henner refused to answer any of them. Before the interview began he expressed he wanted to set ground rules for the interview and stated he did not represent the district until July 1st. When NewsChannel 9 pressed him about the community’s concerns Henner said he would hate for this to be our first and last interview. 

The only questions he was willing to take were about “Education 2020,” the district’s plan to reconfigure the school district come the next school year. Henner has been at the forefront of this plan since 2018 when he returned to the district. 

“The three major themes that we collected were supporting students with mental health, were support K-2 literacy, and to support the trades,” Henner said. 

The district plans to close Nate Perry Elementary School and the District Office next year and divide the existing schools into four quadrants. The South Quadrant, Village Quadrant, Central Quadrant, and North Quadrant. This will allow students living in the same neighborhoods to go to school together from kindergarten through eighth grade. 

The building changes also come with schedule changes including a reduction in the amount of time K-2 students spend in art and music. 

“When you talk about cuts to the program from a certain point of view, yes, in four of our buildings, elementary schools next year it is true we won’t have band, orchestra, or chorus.”

Dan Henner, Incoming Liverpool Superintendent

Instead, those programs will start in third grade, similar to the way other districts operate Henner said. A change that has caused many parents to stir including mother of four, Caitlin Devendorf. 

“Exposure breeds interest and unfortunately if we’re not exposing our kids to arts at a young level, there’s not going to be interest at the middle school level no matter what the electives are,” Devendorf said. 

Henner said the district is also adding more electives for the middle school level including a Studio Art and Music Production class. 

Now Henner is asking his community for time to implement the plans and work out the kinks. 

“We need to be patient and make sure the adjustments we make are through a listening process and living some things for a little bit before jumping to conclusions,” Henner said.

A step by step process for the incoming superintendent to work on recreating a district now divided. 

For more information on Education 2020 click here