Gloversville school chief changes districts

Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli has accepted a job as Greater Jo

Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli has accepted a job as Greater Johnstown School District’s new superintendent so he can pursue direct involvement with students at a smaller school district, he said Wednesday.

The Gloversville native will replace Katherine Sullivan, who has served the Johnstown district for 40 years, the last three as superintendent.

“The most compelling appeal of Johnstown is the smaller size,” DeLilli said. “I feel it will allow me to be a little more involved in the educational process.”

He comes with a wealth of knowledge, said Robert Curtis, Johnstown Board of Education president.

“We’re entering a turbulent time with the economy and the many cuts we’re facing,” Curtis said. “And we felt it was important to bring in a seasoned veteran to fill the superintendent seat.”

Board members will officially appoint DeLilli at a special meeting this afternoon at Johnstown High School.

Sullivan announced her retirement in April, prompting a two-month search by school board members and Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel for her replacement.

DeLilli said that if Sullivan were not retiring for another year or two, he would not have actively sought the Johnstown position. But her announcement opened a door of opportunity, he said.

“I decided that it could be a good time to explore that opportunity,” he said. “It just seemed to be a timing thing and something I just had to explore.”

The Gloversville superintendent will leave his current post, which he has held for almost four years, to head the nearby Johnstown school district. The soonest DeLilli can assume his new role is Aug. 16, Curtis said, because of the required 60 days’ notice he must give to Gloversville’s Board of Education.

DeLilli will serve for a period lasting through July 31, 2014, according to a Johnstown school board news release issued Wednesday. Sullivan will serve as acting superintendent starting July 5 until DeLilli takes over in August.

DeLilli’s salary will start at $125,000, the same as Sullivan is making in her final year. Johnstown board members advertised the superintendent’s annual salary as $110,000 to $125,000, less than the $128,457 DeLilli was slated to earn at Gloversville next year. Curtis said there is always potential for a raise once his contract is ironed out.

“He expressed to us that he would like the challenge of a district our size,” Curtis said. “He knows we’re financially sound and in good shape and he was looking for the challenge of coming to our district.”

The Johnstown school district enrolled 1,830 students this academic year, with a total of 133 teachers at its high school, junior high school and three elementary schools.

Gloversville served about 3,100 students this academic year at its seven school buildings — five elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

Officials narrowed the candidate pool of 40 to three finalists in May: DeLilli; Patricia Kilburn, Johnstown director of curriculum, testing and personnel; and Kenneth Newman Sr., assistant superintendent for student learning in Sullivan County’s Monticello Central School District.

Curtis said the other finalists were informed Tuesday of DeLilli’s selection.

DeLilli brought a lot to the table, said Michel, who helped orchestrate the superintendent search. While the other finalists were great candidates, he said the board ultimately went with experience and a proven track record.

DeLilli earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY-Plattsburgh and a master’s degree in education from the University at Albany. He currently serves as chairman of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Energy Price Consortium and vice-chairman of the HFM Business Education Alliance.

“He has an enormous amount of experience working in both very small and large school districts,” Michel said. “He took Gloversville, which was in a bad financial situation when he got there, and put them into a very good position now.”

After 17 years teaching social studies, DeLilli served as superintendent of Wheelerville Union Free School District until 2007 when he accepted the Gloversville superintendent job — a position that involves an element of business that is sometimes challenging, he said.

It will be bittersweet for DeLilli to leave Gloversville. He said he is leaving behind a very good group of teachers, administrators and the “rewarding experience” of working for his alma mater.

“There’s a great group of people in Gloversville,” he said. “The teachers and administrators are excellent. The board has been very supportive throughout my four years here. It’s certainly bittersweet, but it’s an opportunity that I just didn’t want to pass up.”

Gloversville’s Board of Education is considering hiring an interim superintendent, Michel said, possibly a “retiree who’s been around the block.”

“When you don’t have leadership it’s always a little shaky,” he said. “But an interim can keep the district on a good path, and then they can take their time to find a person to help lead the district into the future.”

Gloversville Board of Education President Pete Semione said Tuesday that Gloversville had not begun a search to fill its now open superintendent position.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Semione said Tuesday. “We’re holding out that he will stay. Until then he’s still our superintendent.”

Semione could not be reached Wednesday for additional comment.

Categories: Schenectady County

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