Matt Ronca said he wasn’t necessarily looking to leave the Schalmont Central School District, but the opportunity to take on a new position in the Schenectady City School District proved too intriguing to pass up.
Ronca, who was in his fourth year as Schalmont’s Director of Health, Phyiscal Education and Athletics, departed the district in December to take on the position of Assistant Director of Physical Education & Health in Schenectady’s Department of Teaching and Learning.
“It kind of just happened,” Ronca said Tuesday. “I wasn’t looking to leave. I loved everybody at Schalmont.”
David Ksanznak, who retired in July from his position as an elementary school principal in the Bethlehem Central School District, has taken over the athletic director position at Schalmont on an interim basis.
Ronca’s new position entails overseeing the health and PE programs from K-12 throughout Schenectady’s 17 school buildings. The role is separate from athletic director Michaela McBride Miranda, who oversees the district’s interscholastic athletic programs.
“I don’t know how it was one job all those years — health, PE and athletics,” said Ronca, who came to Schalmont after having served for two years as the athletic director at Cobleskill-Richmondville. “[Schenectady is] such a big district. It’s one of the biggest districts in the state, pretty much the same size as Shen, which is huge. There’s 17 buildings, almost 40 PE and health teachers. It’s big.”
Ronca oversaw both athletics and physical education during his tenure at Schalmont.
“Athletics just takes over,” he said. “This was a good opportunity. I looked into it, I interviewed for it and I was really excited with the job. I can really dive into health and PE now.”
Ksanznak, Ronca’s interim replacement at Schalmont, spent 30 years as an administrator, the last 16 of them as the principal of Bethlehem’s Hamagrael Elementary School. He’s also coached soccer at Bethlehem and Skidmore College.
“While it’s such a loss to lose Matt, Dave has been an amazing fit for Schalmont,” said Schalmont superintendent Thomas Reardon. “He jumped right in.”
Reardon said that Schalmont’s search for a permanent AD is underway, though the likely timeframe for the new hire is some time in the summer or early fall.
“We really want to do this search right. That’s why it was important for us to have the right interim in place,” Reardon said. “Our goal is to have someone fully in place — this is our long-term goal — for late summer or early fall. . . . We want to really attract a competitive pool. We’re going to take basically the entire spring to compile that pool.”
Ksanznak will fulfill the interim duties at least through the end of this school, and said he’s available to remain with Schalmont “as long as I’m needed.”
He was appointed to the interim role in early December, and Ronca spent two weeks assisting the transition before finishing up at Schalmont on Dec. 17.
“As long as they need me here at Schalmont,” Ksanznak said, “I’ll be happy to stay and help out. I’ve met a few of the spring coaches already and talked about plans with them. I’m looking forward to continuing the work that Matt Ronca and the administration have done so far to have this program of excellence in athletics here and just keep things going.
“I just don’t want to mess things up. I came in halfway through, and things are running very smoothly.”
Coming into the role mid-year as an increase in COVID-19 cases is forcing numerous schedule changes throughout the Capital Region role has made the start of his new duties a busy time, though Ksanznak is committed to facing the challenges of the job head-on.
“Every day is different,” he said. “You have to be constantly on your feet.”