Candidates for superintendent discuss plans

FONDA – More than 30 members of the public and staff of the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District got an opportunity to interview the two candidates for a superintendent position.

During a special meeting on Tuesday night both candidates – Thomas Ciaccio, the elementary school Principal, and David Halloran, the high school principal – gave 15 minute presentations about their respective plans for what each would do as the new associate superintendent.

Interim Superintendent Raymond Colucciello will stay on as a mentor to the principal selected.

On Monday, Colucciello said the principal chosen will be named the associate superintendent. The principal selected will continue in his duties as principal and his salary will not increase, but his title will change and he will begin to be involved in the duties of district superintendent.

No date has yet been set for how long Colucciello will stay.

The board could appoint the associate superintendent to superintendent at a later date, but is under no obligation to do so.

The school board will interview the candidates Monday.

Ciaccio laid out a three-phase plan that includes a school and community listening tour, reviews of district documents and systems and learning about the district’s budgeting process.

Phase one is a proposed “listening tour” that includes speaking to members of the community, the school district, students and the Board of Education.

Ciaccio said he wants to learn the district’s strengths and weaknesses and learn about community issues that affect the district.

Phase two will be reviewing documents, including policy ones, such as budget and audit reports, and looking at school systems including transportation, facilities and food service.

Ciaccio said he wants to do this to learn what areas the district is doing well in and what areas need improvement.

Phase three will be looking into the budget process, including going to workshops and training in school finance, working with interim superintendent Ray Colucciello and district treasurer Carey Shultz.

He also wants to make a long term budget plan for the district to ensure the district can keep its taxes within the tax-levy cap.

“I want to try and widen my knowledge on school finance,” Ciaccio said.

Ciaccio said he also wants to be a visible presence in both the district’s schools and functions, and in the wider community.

Focusing on science, technology and math to ensure students are prepared for their futures is also something he would like to see.

Halloran’s presentation focused on his plans for listening, learning and leading to effect change in the district.

For the listening portion of his plan, Halloran proposed a program of listening to students to learn what they feel they need to be prepared for their futures.

Halloran said he wants to listen to staff members since they want to be heard about district issues. He will develop a relationship between the superintendent and the school board to get to know the members individually and get a sense of where they see the district heading, he said.

Halloran said he would like to see the district open more to the community, so community members can feel like they are a part of the district. He envisions future adult education courses and opening up the school facilities to more community use.

“I want to help people realize this is their school,” Halloran said.

For the learning portion, Halloran proposed learning about the district systems, financial, infrastructural and instructional planning to get a better sense of how the district functions.

He said he wants to implement a kindergarten through 12th grade learning plan that will allow students to hit the ground running when they are put out into the real world.

For his leading portion, Halloran wanted to focus on creating new leaders, not just having followers. He said it is important to listen to the district’s other principals, teachers and staff members, since many ideas he has implemented in the high school has come from subordinates.

After the event participants were asked to fill out forms rating things such as the candidates communication skills, understanding of the school district, understanding of education issues and overall impression of the candidate.