New school leader chosen in Johnstown

The school board decided to promote from within and Wednesday night selected Assistant Superintenden

The school board decided to promote from within and Wednesday night selected Assistant Superintendent Kathy Sullivan as its next superintendent of schools.

The item was not on the agenda and after convening, the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education went behind closed doors for 95 minutes.

When school board members reconvened in public session they voted 9-0, without public comment, to appoint Sullivan to a three-year term as superintendent starting July 1.

Sullivan has been the assistant superintendent for curriculum for nine years and has more than 30 years with the district.

Board President John David Praught said it was no coincidence Sullivan was the board’s choice.

“Look at the candidate we got. Obviously, you want to look at the best candidates and sometimes you have to go outside the district,” he said.

“We just feel she has the leadership skills to lead us into the future,” Praught said after the meeting.

Sullivan said she was grateful for the board’s unanimous support.

“I’m honored that the Board of Education has the confidence in me to lead the district,” she said.

She promised an open, honest, team approach to running the district, which she entered as a first-grader at Warren Street Elementary School.

“We’ve had a lot of success and as I’ve said before, the superintendent and I worked together for nine years. … I plan to continue what we started and move forward. We don’t want to make any drastic changes right away,” she said.

Sullivan, who began her career in education as an elementary school teacher, said she never set out to become superintendent.

“I honestly did not envision it as my career goal,” she said.

A former principal nudged her toward administrative work, she said, and she’s held numerous positions since, including recreation director and summer school principal.

She’s also the former president of the Johnstown Teachers Association.

Sullivan said she’s familiar with “all of the stakeholders” in the district and that will help her as she moves into the top job.

Praught said Sullivan will be paid $125,000 annually to start. She will replace Jack Whelan, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Whelan, 60, was hired in 1999 from among a dozen candidates after the Fort Ann Central School District Board of Education didn’t renew his contract.

Last year Whelan was given a two-year extension by the Johnstown Board of Education, but Whelan — who is being paid more than $116,000 this year — said in February when he announced his plans that he’d been thinking about retiring since early winter.

Categories: Schenectady County

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