Saratoga County

Mechanicville school chief placed on administrative leave

Mechanicville Superintendent Bruce Potter asks questions and feedback from students, faculty, and parents during an open discussion in the Mechanicville High School cafeteria.
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Mechanicville Superintendent Bruce Potter asks questions and feedback from students, faculty, and parents during an open discussion in the Mechanicville High School cafeteria.

MECHANICVILLE – Superintendent Bruce Potter was placed on paid administrative leave during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, while Assistant Superintendent Kevin Kolakowski was installed as acting school chief.

The board was mum about why it took that course of action, but Potter, in a phone interview, confirmed that he’s been placed on administrative leave because of a complaint that was lodged against him.

Potter declined to state the nature of the complaint, or who had filed it.

Potter read the following prepared statement that he said would be posted to his Facebook page:

“Friends & Family, Tonight, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the BOE, I was placed on paid administrative leave. A complaint has been lodged and the district has an obligation to conduct an impartial investigation. As such I can not go into any further detail. I support the BOE, as they conduct their due diligence.

I’m sharing this information because this is the process for any school employee, and I should not be treated any different.

I believe in transparent accountability. I welcome a thorough review of my work. I hope this concludes in the shortest time possible because I can’t wait to get back to work, leading my team.

Because the board, nor any district employee can comment on this, I felt a personal responsibility not to leave anyone wondering. I’m not hiding, I continue to hold my head high.

Clear, concise, and transparent communication is one of our district priorities, I need to continue to model this even during difficult times.

My best, Bruce”

On Sunday, the eve of students’ return from February vacation, Board of Education President Marlene Tierney posted a one-sentence message on the district’s website:

“Superintendent Bruce Potter is taking vacation leave and Kevin Kolakowski will be our Acting Superintendent in his absence, effective immediately.”

Four days later, the vacation was changed to administrative leave.

Potter, superintendent since 2019, is a year into a five-year contract with the district — signed on July 8, 2021.

Potter, a Malta resident, is being paid a salary of $187,272 this year, by the final year of his current contract, the 2025-2026 schoolyear, he is set to make $206,703.

His contract calls for the board to conduct a midyear assessment of his progress towards achieving goals and objectives on or before Feb. 1.

The Daily Gazette has filed a Freedom of Information Law request asking for this schoolyear’s midyear assessment.

With his ascension to acting superintendent, the terms of Kolakowski’s employment remain unchanged. His contract, which began on Jan. 1, 2020, and runs through Dec. 31, 2024, pays him a salary of $143,377 this school year. It increases to $152,673 the final year of the contract.

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

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