District hires two new directors

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District on Tuesday hired two curriculum directors.

The Board of Education approved Lauri Kent for a three-year probationary appointment as director of elementary curriculum and instruction starting July 1. The district will pay her $79,720 in the 2014-15 school year.

James Wager Jr. was named to a three-year probationary appointment as the director of secondary curriculum and instruction starting July 1. The district will pay him $90,000 in 2014-15.

The new directors will receive 2 percent raises for the next two years.

The two directors will pick up the responsibilities of Frank Pickus, the previous assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction who retired while on administrative leave in March after he was charged with a drug-related crime.

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

District Superintendent Michael Vanyo said the district decided to split the responsibilities between elementary and secondary schools because the assigned tasks were becoming too great for one person to handle.

“[Pickus] was spread so thin … he just couldn’t be at all the places at all the different times,” Vanyo said. “We had department meetings K-12, new curriculum was coming in, we were on the [state’s Focus School list] and we had all kinds of data, so when we looked at the big picture, it was becoming almost too much. We looked at the model of Amsterdam, where they use two different people.”

The district can afford the additional salary expenditure for the two new directors because Pickus’ former secretary and a teacher weren’t replaced, Vanyo said.

“Just because of attrition, we were able to cover those costs [of the new directors],” Vanyo said.

Vanyo said both directors were selected after a search that included more than 100 applicants and multiple rounds of interviews with committees, administrators and the Board of Education.

Both of the curriculum directors currently are administrators at the Lansingburgh Central School District, Vanyo said.

Kent said she has worked for Lansingburgh for three years. She serves as an administrator for grade six through 12 data analysis and professional development.

Before that, she was the director of English and social studies for kindergarten through grade 12 at the East Greenbush Central School District for two years.

“I have a history of looking very closely and improving academic performance in Lansingburgh as well as East Greenbush Central School and also Mohonasen,” Kent said. “My focus is looking at improving academic programs, and I’m really looking forward to working and meeting everyone.”

Wager said he has been an elementary school principal in Lansingburgh for the last three years. Before that, he was an instructional coordinator at the high school. He has worked for the district for 13 years.

“I’m excited to dig in and help this district continue to move forward,” Wager said.

“Watch out for Gloversville,” board member Pete Semione said about the new hires. “We are going to do some good things now. The administrative staff we have assembled now with the support we already have, we are just going to be going good places, and I’m looking forward to working with all of them.”

Pickus was charged March 2 by Colonie police with being in possession of methamphetamine after a traffic stop, police said. The school district placed him on administrative leave, and Pickus later retired.