DJ Shepardson at his desk

The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) has selected Donald (DJ) Shepardson as its new district superintendent and chief executive officer and expects to formally appoint him to the position at its July 6 board meeting.

The selection announcement follows the state education commissioner’s approval this week of the board’s final candidate, a state requirement for all BOCES district superintendents. The board anticipates that Shepardson will assume his new role on Oct. 1, pending final contract negotiations.

Herkimer BOCES Board President Holly Pullis said the board was impressed with Shepardson’s knowledge, skills and leadership abilities.

“In reviewing all the candidates, the board looked for a new leader who would continue to advance the exceptional work of this BOCES in providing quality programs and services to our component districts,” Pullis said. “We believe Mr. Shepardson is the right person to do that, and we appreciated the collaborative approach that he will bring to the role.”

Mr. Shepardson is currently the superintendent of the West Canada Valley Central School District, a position he has held since 2015. Prior to this role, he served as elementary principal and a social studies teacher in West Canada Valley, for a total of 25 years in that district. He has been active in various regional committees through Herkimer BOCES related to Career and Technical Education programming, finances and facilities planning. He has experience coaching multiple sports and now represents Herkimer County superintendents with Section III Athletics and serves as the Center State Conference president, overseeing 24 athletics directors.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Utica College; a master’s degree in adult education from SUNY Buffalo; and a certificate in school district leader/school business leader from SUNY Stony Brook.

"I am honored to have been selected as the next district superintendent of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES. As a lifelong resident of Herkimer County, I look forward to working with our local school boards, school superintendents, government leaders and community partners to provide expanded opportunities for students in our region,” Shepardson said. “This BOCES is an important resource to our region with a highly dedicated staff committed to supporting our communities. I am certainly humbled by this opportunity and look forward to continuing the outstanding work being done."

The board’s announcement concludes a six-month search that included a thorough screening and interview process and input from multiple Stakeholder Advisory Committees. The board conducted its search under the guidance of Madison-Oneida BOCES District Superintendent and CEO Scott Budelmann following Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent and CEO Sandra Sherwood’s retirement announcement in October.

“We were impressed by the quality of the applicants we received for this position, and the board felt it was important to have thoughtful deliberation and seek stakeholder feedback before making a decision,” Pullis said. “We want to thank the entire Herkimer BOCES community for the time and effort they put into this process.”