Niskayuna appoints state Ed official as new superintendent

Almost a year to the day after former Niskayuna Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio parted ways with

Almost a year to the day after former Niskayuna Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio parted ways with the district, Niskayuna Schools have officially selected a new superintendent, to be appointed at the Board of Education meeting at Birchwood Elementary School this evening.

Dr. Cosimo Tangorra Jr., who currently serves as deputy commissioner of P-12 Education for the New York State Education Department, has a long resume as a school superintendent. From July 2004 to July 2014, he served in Oppenheim-Ephrateh Central Schools, Trumansberg Central Schools, Ilion Central Schools, and Central Valley School District. He also has experience as a principal, administrator, and teacher.

His salary in his new position will be $186,000.

Tangorra’s appointment marks the end of a contentious era in school district politics. Salvaggio’s departure on April 15 of last year, called a “voluntary separation” by the board of education at the time, included a gag order that kept district officials from commenting on the specific reasons for her exit, as well as a $139,000 lump-sum payment for ending her contract 15 months early.

While the district conducted a search for a new, permanent superintendent, a familiar face in the Schenectady education circuit took the helm. John Yagielski, who led the Schenectady City School District on an interim basis for two years, was appointed in a unanimous vote on April 23, 2014.

Yagielski’s time in the district has seen a sort of reconciliation take place, as community members pushed for increased transparency. A group of parents and students even sought the opinion of the New York State Committee on Open Government in regards to Salvaggio’s abrupt separation.

Yagielski has fostered communication between the district and its residents by leading the board members through the development of a Code of Conduct, shifting public comment from a podium to a literal seat at the table during Board of Education meetings, and attending a monthly meeting with a group of students from Niskayuna High School.

Soon, it will be Tangorra’s turn to forge his own relationship with the Niskayuna School District community. He will officially take his post on June 2, 2015.

The Niskayuna Central School District Board of Education will begin with a Students First presentation at 6:30 p.m. at Birchwood Elementary School, 897 Birchwood Ln. The business portion of the meeting will start at 7:00 p.m.

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