SCHENECTADY – Schenectady City School District announced the hirings for five newly created administrative jobs in a press release Thursday.
The new positions are part of an organizational redesign Soler implemented in response to a needs assessment that was conducted in February, before his arrival, with recommendations for improvement.
The change reflects an organizational shift in operations, management, and reporting, the statement said.
Lake George head of schools Lynne Rutnik is set to become deputy superintendent, taking over for interim Aaron Bochniak – who was also interim superintendent before Soler. In addition, Carlos M. Cotto, Jr. of the Rochester City School District will be assistant superintendent of innovation, equity and engagement. Shaun M. Mason of the Baltimore City School District will serve as assistant superintendent of planning and accountability. Andrea Tote-Freeman, an internal appointment, was named assistant superintendent of student support services, and former school official Joseph R. DiCaprio will return to the district as executive director of elementary schools, leading elementary school principals.
Rutnik has served as Lake George’s school chief since 2017. She’s worked in education the last 27 years and has knowledge and experience in all aspects of school leadership, Soler said in a statement.
“I am both humbled and honored to be chosen as the future deputy superintendent at the Schenectady City School District,” Rutnik said in the release. “This leadership position provides me with the opportunity to partner with a superintendent, leadership team and school community who share my core values around equity and excellence.”
Tote-Freeman had been working as Schenectady’s director of pupil personnel services, and as a member of its executive leadership team, since 2016.
“Supporting the social, emotional, developmental, health and wellness of our students is especially critical right now, as we work to ensure students return to a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment,” said Tote-Freeman, who’s career in Schenectady started in 2007 as a behavior intervention counselor at Oneida Middle School, in the statement.
DiCaprio has been working as principal of Rosendale Elementary School in the Niskayuna Central School District since 2015.
He worked in Schenectady from 2008 to 2015 as an elementary school principal. He was principal of Pleasant Valley Elementary School and then at Woodlawn Elementary School beginning in 2012.
DiCaprio also attended Schenectady schools, stating in the release, “it is my singular goal to give to our students all of the wonderful love, support, and guidance the district gave me as a student years ago.”
Cotto is departing the Rochester City School District, where he’s served as principal of Enrico Fermi School No. 17. Otto previously served Rochester school’s as executive director of health, physical education, and athletics.
Mason has been working as the manager of school operations support for Baltimore City Public Schools since 2018. He has more than 20 years of educational leadership experience.
“Each of these leaders offers extraordinary leadership knowledge, experience and skills,” Soler said. “They each have an exceptional record of accomplishment, respect, and a shared vision for improving student outcomes, ensuring equity and inclusivity, and strengthening Schenectady. We have significant work before us, but we are building an amazing team that is ready to navigate Schenectady forward.”