Tim Lange said he has had a good feeling about the Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District ever since he officiated at a basketball game there last year.
Upon entering the single building that houses the district’s kindergarten through grade 12 students, he recalled that he was impressed with the community atmosphere and the friendliness of its visitors. This was a place he said he could imagine staying at for some time.
Lange, 48, was hired as the district’s new superintendent of schools on Thursday. He agreed to a 3-year contract that starts on July 1 and will pay him $135,000 in the first year.
Salary for the second and third year of Lange’s contract will be negotiated in the future, officials said.
Lange has been the assistant superintendent for personnel and professional development at the East Greenbush Central School District since 2001.
“Every step of the way, I liked what I felt and I liked what I heard,” Lange said. “It’s been a good fit.”
Lange taught English and Spanish at East Greenbush from 1981 to 1996. He then worked as the athletic director at the Mohonasen Central School District in Rotterdam for a year before returning to East Greenbush in 1997 as an administrator.
“It was just a natural progression, to the point that I thought I could lead a school district,” he said. “I felt like I had enough leadership qualities to get to that point.”
Waterford-Halfmoon has about 940 students, compared to about 5,000 students at East Greenbush. Lange said the district is a good size for his first job as superintendent, Lange said.
Lange grew up in Guilderland and now lives in Albany, but he said he plans to move into the Waterford-Halfmoon school district by this fall. He has a daughter who is attending Syracuse University.
Lange has a bachelor’s degree in English from Siena College and a pair of master’s degrees in Spanish and educational administration from the University at Albany.
He said his top priorities in July will be to study student scores, determine staff development needs and identify other possible areas of growth in the district.
“It’s my impression that the staff there is eager to get out and learn,” Lange said. “They’re eager to have programs for staff development.”
Lange will replace Interim Superintendent of Schools James LaGoy, who said he did not apply for the permanent position.
“I’ve done over 30 years as a superintendent and the only thing I do now is interim work,” LaGoy said. “Every time I come here I enjoy what I do, but I’m not interested in a full-time job.”
Nine candidates visited the school and interviewed with the school board, LaGoy said. Lange’s contract was finalized Thursday evening, and the school board approved his hiring at its meeting that night.
“When he made a public presentation here the night of his finalist interview, he spoke in the auditorium at length about his background and his entry-level plans for the district,” LaGoy said. “What he had to say was very well received.”
Cathy Graziano, the vice president of the East Greenbush school board, said that she has a lot of respect for Lange.
“I can say it’s well deserved,” she said. “I’m sure he will do very well there and they will be very happy with him.”
Lange’s last day at East Greenbush is June 30, the day before he starts at Waterford-Halfmoon.
More from The Daily Gazette: