Pat  Darfler-Sweeney Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Pat Darfler-Sweeney

USNYRRF/Project Director NYSED P20 Principal Preparation Partnership Pilot
University of the State of New York Regents Research Fund (USNYRRF)

Until my retirement in June 2016, I was the Superintendent of Schools at the Hunter-Tannersville CSD (New York). I served for 18 years as a classroom teacher and Athletics Coach and 17 years as an administrator: Principal, Dean of Students, Athletic Director, Special Education Director, and Superintendent. Currently, I work for the USNYRRF as Project Director for the NYSED P20 Principal Preparation Partnership Pilot Program. My passions are digital collaboration, student engagement, and sports.

Subjects: Education


USNYRRF Project Director NYSED p20 Principal Prep Partnership Pilot Program:2018-Present
Adjunct Lecturer @ SUNY Oneonta: 2016-2018
Interim Assistant Superintendent/Principal @Stamford CSD: 2017-2018
Interim Principal @ Margaretville CSD: 2016-2017
Superintendent of Schools (& Director of Special Education-2014-2016) @ Hunter-Tannersville CSD: 2007-2016(retired)
Principal @ Hartford CSD: 2002-2007
Athletic Director/Dean of Students @ Livingston Manor CSD: 2001-2002
Social Studies Teacher, XC-Track-Nordic Skiing, Bowling Coach @Queensbury HS: 1985-2001
XC NYS Championship Team: 1997; Section 2 Class B Coach of the Year: 1997, 1998, 1999
Social Studies Teacher @ Oliver Winch MS (South Glens Falls CSD): 1984-1985
Social Studies [email protected] St. Mary's Academy (Glens Falls): 1983-1985

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Education Leadership
    Education Administration
    Education Digital Education
    Education Instruction
    Special Education
    Scholastic Sports

Personal Interests



Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Superintendents Rulebook - 1st Edition book cover


Ed Week Blog

How Do We Solve the Administrator Shortage?

Published: Apr 20, 2020 by Ed Week Blog
Authors: Dr. Patrick Darfler-Sweeney
Subjects: Education

Understanding the current state of education administrator shortage and issues we must face in dealing with the issue.


Books You Need on Your Leadership Bookshelf

By: Pat Darfler-Sweeney
Subjects: Education

by Dr. Peter Dewitt
Every so often I love when I get into a space of learning where I can sit down, read a book, and take multiple notes because the book inspires me to read, reflect, and write. Sometimes it's due to writing a new book or blog, so it's a part of the research that I'm doing. Other times it may be that I want to give a presentation a makeover, and I'm looking for fresh perspectives to cite during a workshop or keynote. 
Recently, I have become acquainted with some books that have not been out for long, and reacquainted with a few that I have read several times before. To be honest, I started this list with six books and then it quickly doubled. The books in the list are meant for anyone in a leadership position who is looking to put a focus on learning, build on collective ideas within their school, or are new to leadership and they're worried or insecure about their decisions. 
Why These Books?
Books are meant to teach us, inspire us, and sometimes bring us together as a group because they challenge our thinking and we have to find commonalities together. The authors in the list do just that, and I believe if readers want to try something new in their position, they could find fresh ideas in one of these books, even though some of them are several years old. 
This is a list of books that I believe would be helpful for any school leader or someone in a leadership position. If you have a book that you believe would be equally as helpful, please feel free to add it to the comment section. I believe we should all be able to share our opinions about books. Especially those books that will help us in our position. 


The Superintendent's Rule Book: A Guide to District Level Leadership (Routledge) by Patrick Sweeney. Books just for Superintendents seem to be few and far between, and this is a new book by a new author. I reviewed the book before it came out, and Sweeney has a good way to approach difficult subjects by using humor and his extensive knowledge as a superintendent. For full disclosure, Sweeney was my high school X-country coach and one of my first mentors, but that's not why the book made the list. The book made the list because Sweeney took those impactful mentorship qualities and put them in a book. 

Education Alumnus Publishes New Handbook for Superintendents Monday, March 11, 2019

By: Pat Darfler-Sweeney
Subjects: Education

By Julia Mills

Patrick Darfler-Sweeney, '10 takes an active interest in educational questions that affect K-12 students. As a former superintendent and lead negotiator in a school district, he understands the inevitable personal feelings involved when making decisions that shape the lives of children, teachers, and families. Through his many years as a servant leader, Darfler-Sweeney learned what it means to be a thoughtful and effective administrator.

Recently, Darfler-Sweeney published a new book for aspiring superintendents, The Superintendent's Rulebook: A Guide to District-Level Leadership. The book serves as a professional development tool for education leaders that combines theory with real-world examples.

The structure of the book had been inspired by the popular television series NCIS, where the main protagonist Gibbs develops a code to live by (in the form of rules) that he shares with his colleagues. Darfler-Sweeney wrote his book to accomplish much of the same thing for education leaders. He presents a set of rules for superintendency based on situations that consume the most time and energy and cause the most stress on task for administrators.

He also wanted to present a more human side to the superintendency. "It is a lonely perch," Darfler-Sweeney remarks. "No other position in a school district really prepares someone to be a superintendent."

During his career, Darfler-Sweeney never shied away from making significant changes to a curriculum or educational structure, a lesson he learned from his time in the Executive Ed.D program at Seton Hall. The program inspired him to embrace leadership and find ways to appeal to the various constituencies when taking on new initiatives. In his previous school district, Darfler-Sweeney cultivated a more digitally engaged student body and created opportunities for students to accrue college credit that carries over into their undergraduate careers.

Beyond instituting change, Darfler-Sweeney also makes it a point to be "a leader in the field not about the field." He understands the importance of keeping up to date with research and best practices while also developing strong professional relationships.

Although now retired as a superintendent, Darfler-Sweeney still serves his community as the Project Director for the University of the State of New York Research Fund. He is in charge of the Principal Preparation Initiative, which oversees and creates recommendations for seven K-12 pilot programs. The former superintendent was also recently invited to present at the New York State School Council of Superintendents Conference.

Learn more about the Executive Ed.D. in K-12 School Administration by visiting the program page.

Categories: Alumni , Education

For more information, please contact:

Michael Giorgio

(973) 275-4953

[email protected]

Using Leadership to the Help the Future

By: Pat Darfler-Sweeney
Subjects: Education

Link to TV Interview:

The success of students starts with school leadership from the top down. 

Dr. Patrick Darfler-Sweeney, the former superintendent from Tannersville joins Jill to talk about his book, The Superintendent's Rulebook; a Guide to District Level Leadership.