Saratoga County

Interim school superintendent leaves after 3 years

After three years as an interim head of the Ballston Spa Central School District, Friday was Ray Col

After three years as an interim head of the Ballston Spa Central School District, Friday was Ray Colucciello’s last day.

When he was hired as temporary superintendent of schools in 2005-06, Colucciello never expected to be in Ballston Spa this long.

But there were unsuccessful searches for a permanent superintendent in the intervening years, until the district last spring finally hired Albany assistant superintendent Joseph Dragone, who starts Monday.

At a Board of Education meeting this week, board members gave Colucciello a lot of credit for pushing the district forward during his stint.

He settled labor contracts the first year he was here, got schools off the state’s underperforming list the next and has led preparations for the high-tech courses that will be needed and the added student population that is likely when the Luther Forest Technology Campus is developed.

The Board of Education this week passed a resolution thanking him for “three years of tireless service to the Ballston Spa school district.”

There was much light-hearted banter during the meeting about Colucciello’s pending departure. Assistant Superintendent for Business Brian Sirianni wore his “funeral suit,” and Colucciello was presented with a copy of the classic children’s book, “How to Behave and Why.” He said it was too late for him to learn its lessons.

But there were serious tributes, as well.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Board of Education President Kathy Jarvis.

Colucciello called the district’s progress a team effort. “A whole lot of people have to be pulling in the same direction for this to happen,” he said.

Colucciello will take a brief break, then in September become interim superintendent of the Voorheesville school district.

Colucciello has held 10 interim superintendent or building principal jobs since he retired as superintendent of the Schenectady schools in 2000 — an indication, he said, that it’s getting harder for local school districts to find administrative leadership.

“If you don’t like to deal with conflict, this isn’t the job for you,” Colucciello said, when asked about the national shortage of candidates for school superintendencies.

“You’re out four nights a week. Everybody wants you at their meeting. The community expects you to be available 24/7,” he said.

Colucciello will be leaving Dragone with a full plate of issues, including the just-starting study of whether the Malta Avenue elementary school should remain a classroom building, and the ongoing search for land where a future elementary school could be built.

The district is also reconfiguring to have four K-5 elementary schools as it starts a full-day kindergarten program in September.

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