School official resigns

GLOVERSVILLE – A Gloversville Enlarged School District administrator who was accused of drug charges by Colonie police last month and then placed on paid administrative leave by the school district has resigned, the district announced Tuesday.

Frank Pickus, 57, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, submitted a letter of resignation, which the district, in a unanimous vote, accepted Tuesday. His resignation is effective immediately, the district said in a news release.

“Mr. Pickus had been on administrative leave as his case was going through the legal process,” Superintendent Michael Vanyo said in the news release. “With his retirement, the district now considers this matter closed and will proceed with a plan to replace Mr. Pickus.”

The district will develop a plan to permanently fill the vacancy, the news release said.

Vanyo said the situation has been difficult for the district.

“The district is moving forward with its academic needs, and we wish Pickus the best in his retirement,” Vanyo said.

School board President Richard Carlson said, “I think, from my perspective, the most important thing would be to move on. Now, hopefully, this is behind us and we can move on, and not just for the district, but the whole community.”

“All we can do is move on, make the best of this situation and look toward continuing to educate our children to the best of our ability,” said board Vice President E. Lynn Brown.

Pickus worked for the district for 27 years. He was placed on paid administrative leave last month after his arrest.

Pickus was charged March 2 by Colonie police with being in possession of methamphetamine after a traffic stop, police said.

Pickus was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, and traffic infractions.

According to Colonie police Lt. Robert Winn, Pickus was stopped around 6:14 p.m. March 2 in the parking lot of Starbucks on Troy Schenectady Road.

Officers found Pickus was in possession of a small quantity of methamphetamine along with other drug paraphernalia, Winn said.

The school board late last month hired Helen Stuetzel as interim assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at a pay rate of $425 per day.

Pickus’ salary was $100,719 for the 2013-14 school year.

In the news release, Vanyo said the district will look at an administrative restructuring.

“Based on student performance on state tests and the district’s graduation rate, the GESD has been identified by the state Department of Education as a Focus District for the past two years,” Vanyo said in the news release. “As a result of this designation, the district must continue to take steps to address student performance. An administrative restructuring may make us more efficient and better allow us to continue to make improvements in our schools.”

District officials would not release the terms of Pickus’ resignation Tuesday. The Leader-Herald is filing a Freedom of Information Law request to obtain the terms.

Pickus was unavailable for comment.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached at acleveland@leaderherald.com.