The current chief academic officer of a Monroe County school district has been chosen to lead the Schalmont Central School District.
Carol Pallas of the 14,000-student Greece Central School District is set to be appointed as the new superintendent by the Schalmont Board of Education tonight at its meeting at 7 at Jefferson Elementary School.
Pallas starts Jan. 1 and is replacing Valerie Kelsey, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Following a six-month search, Pallas emerged from a pool of 34 initial applicants, which was narrowed to 12 and then three finalists.
“With more than 25 years of experience in the field of education, we feel Carol will be a great asset to the community, and an excellent academic leader as we move forward to meet the demands of the 21st century,” said Board of Education President Sandra Beloncik in a press release.
Pallas will receive a three-year contract at a starting salary of $157,500.
In a follow-up interview, Beloncik said the board wanted to find a sitting superintendent or assistant superintendent and had three excellent finalists. Beloncik said the board was impressed that Pallas was in charge of a process last year in the district to close three schools and merge two others. She got the community involved in the process and answered their questions.
Also, Pallas is responsible for K-12 education in her district and took the lead in implementing a new teacher evaluation system and forming curriculum in the district.
Beloncik said the community gave excellent feedback on the three finalists.
Reached by telephone on Monday, Pallas said she felt great about the opportunity.
“I feel very excited and kind of anxious to get going,” she said.
Pallas, 48, said at this point in her career, she was looking to move up to a superintendent’s position. She was attracted to Schalmont’s strong academics including its high graduation rate, which she said was reflected in its moving up in the school district rankings of the publication Buffalo Business First.
“That tells me there’s a lot of work and focus that has gone into helping students to be successful and achieve,” she said.
Pallas was also impressed by Schalmont’s strong community support, which made her want to move into the town.
Pallas said she brings a breadth of experience, including being a teacher and principal, working in human resources and financing and overseeing curriculum and instruction.
“I’ve worked at all levels of the educational system,” she said.
In her current position as chief academic officer, she is second in charge of the 14,000-student school district located 10 miles from Rochester and oversees the K-12 schools. During the past 12 years, she has served as assistant superintendent of K-12 schools for one year; assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment for elementary schools and professional development for four years; and director/assistant superintendent of human resources/staff relations for four years. She was also an elementary principal for three years. Before coming to Greece, she served as principal of Mexico Elementary School in Mexico, N.Y. She also served the Rome City School District for 10 years as an elementary school teacher.
Pallas has a doctorate in educational leadership from the Warner School at the University of Rochester and a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) from the State University of New York at Cortland. She earned a master’s degree in education from Elmira College, and a bachelor’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
In May, Pallas had been one of three finalists for the job of superintendent of the Brockport Central School District.
Pallas is single and enjoys her free time skiing, playing golf and spending time with friends and family. Her brother and sister live in Albany so she said she will get to see them more often.
When she starts work on Jan. 1. Pallas said she wants to get to know the community, review current plans and documents and spend time in schools and classrooms. She wants to understand the priorities of the district and build on its strengths.
The contract contains the typical “rolling” provision contained in many school superintendent employment agreements. Starting May 1, 2015 and before May 1 of each subsequent year, the board will consider extending the contract by one year. Under the contract, her salary would be increased in 2014 to $161,000 and $163,000 in 2015.
The district will pay 80 percent of Pallas’ health insurance. She is entitled to an incentive bonus of $5,000 if she receives a review that exceeds a certain score.
She also gets 10 vacation days per year and 18 sick days to start.
Her current employer, the Greece Central School District, had an 85 percent graduation rate in 2010-2011.
The district made national news earlier this year when a video surfaced of bus monitor Karen Klein being bullied by Athena Middle School students. Four students involved were disciplined, according to the district’s website.