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Carmel Schools Name New Superintendent

Dr. Erin Meehan-Fairben

Following an extensive search process, the Carmel School Board last week announced the appointment of Dr. Erin Meehan-Fairben as the district’s new superintendent of schools.

According to the board, Fairben emerged as the top candidate by demonstrating a wealth of experience, a proven track record of educational leadership, and a deep commitment to student success.

Fairben is no stranger to the Carmel community, having been born at Putnam Hospital and living in the district until she was about 5 years old. Her personal ties to the district run even deeper, as her father, Richard Meehan, was the youngest superintendent of the Carmel Central School District, in 1973. As history would have it, Fairben will follow in her late father’s footsteps. 

“It is quite evident that her heart never left Carmel,” said School Board President Dawn Dall.

Fairben has been in the field of education for the past 32 years, having taught at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as college-level courses for aspiring educators at SUNY Brockport, St. John Fisher and Hobart and William Smith colleges.

She has held various leadership roles over the past 22 years at both the building and district level, including as assistant principal, principal, director of pupil personnel services and special programs, superintendent of the New York State School for the Blind, director of P16, assistant superintendent and most recently as an associate superintendent at the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES.

“I have spent the last 32 years creating a voice for the voiceless,” she said. “I’ve worked very hard to create inclusive practices in every district I have served.”

Fairben’s final interview Jan. 6 yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback from stakeholders.

“Erin is passionate and truly concerned about the relationship with the community and the students,” said one attendee. “I appreciate her concerns for the school district and the success of it as a whole.”  

Another attendee added, “Dr. Fairben is knowledgeable, personable, well-spoken and answered the questions with required knowledge and experience.”

The board of education said the feedback received from stakeholders during the search process was invaluable in informing a decision.

“We carefully considered the input from our survey, staff and community forums, giving weight to the aspirations, priorities and concerns discussed,” said the board. “By incorporating this broad range of perspectives, we sought to ensure that our decision aligns with our community’s collective values and vision. We believe we found the right match in Dr. Fairben, an educational leader known for setting rigorous academic standards while creating an optimistic and accepting environment that allows every student access to a high-quality education.”

Fairben holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from SUNY Geneseo, and received her doctorate and educational leadership certification from the University of Rochester, where she researched how project-based learning increases self-determination skills for school-age students. She also holds permanent teaching special education certification and both school district and school building certifications.

Fairben’s appointment will take effect July 1.

“Throughout the interview process, Fairben continuously rose to the top, not just with her high compatibility with the profile created, but also by demonstrating a great knowledge of our district and displaying an authentic passion for leading our schools,” said Dall.

Fairben has two adult children, Anna and Edward. Her husband, Kevin, also works in school administration.

“It is a privilege to be selected by the Board of Education as the next superintendent of this great district,” she said. “I come to you looking forward to building on the traditions and successes of the Carmel Central School District.”


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