MASSENA - The Massena Central School District will be losing their interim superintendent in March after William W. Crist was named this week as the new superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Syracuse.
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham made the announcement Wednesday, and Mr. Crist begins work on March 10.
But that will not impact the search process for a new full-time superintendent in Massena, with the wheels already rolling on that process, according to Thomas R. Burns, superintendent for the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, who is assisting the district with their search.
We already had this factored into the timeline, Mr. Burns said.
Mr. Crist had retired from the Oswego City School District prior to taking over at Massena Central this year.
Im a first-year retired superintendent. My initial interest and intent, as was the board,s was that I would stay here for a year, Mr. Crist said.
As a first-year retiree, he said he was required to submit a waiver to the state Education Department to enter into a contract with the Massena Central School District. That waiver is required during the first year of retirement, he said.
Because Bill had retired just this past year from Oswego, there are limitations. We knew that Bill would have a limited amount of time under the TRS (teacher retirement system) guidelines. We already factored that into the schedule. We knew he had some other opportunities and working for the diocese he wouldnt be under the TRS guidelines, Mr. Burns said.
As a result of that, there was a need to look at how long I could work. I sat down again and talked to the board about what my end date would be (Feb. 28), Mr. Crist said.
Parallel to that conversation, there was an announcement the diocese was looking for a superintendent. Honestly, even when I submitted my information to the diocese, I made it very clear to them my start date would have to happen after March 1 because of my commitment here, and I had a conversation with them, he said.
The first milestone in the new superintendent search for Massena will be Oct. 1, when they expect to have brochures and advertisements out and the job posted, Mr. Burns said.
We will make that deadline. Were kind of finalizing those things, he noted.
I know the boards interest to begin the process again for finding my replacement on a permanent level began last Monday. I think the interest initially when I committed to come up here was I would be here for a year. The board thought we would work together for a year. I guess this does create some urgency for the board to find a successor. Unfortunately its really taken out of both my hands and the boards hands as a result of the waiver, Mr. Crist said.
Under the current timeline, they would have a public announcement of the new superintendent by Jan. 16, with that person on the job by March 3. Board of Education President John R. Boyce had noted during the boards September session that the position will be advertised for up to $150,000 a year depending on experience.
Mr. Crist had been hired as interim superintendent after an initial search by the board of education to replace Roger B. Clough II netted four candidates. Board members planned to begin a new search during the 2013-14 school year, and that process started during their last meeting.
It is bittersweet because I really enjoy my experience up here. People have been fantastic. Im overwhelmed by the outpouring of support at this point, Mr. Crist said.
His new position will take him to a diocese that has 22 schools in a seven-county area.
It seems like its going to be a very nice assignment. Im very humbled by what this means and the responsibilities that come along with it. Its a fairly significant geographic area alone, with seven counties from Oswego County down to Broome County and Binghamton to Norwich and up to Utica. From that point, it at some point becomes overwhelming. At the same time its a great challenge, Mr. Crist said.
Before he leaves, he wants to continue focusing on Race to the Top initiatives.
I think there are many things with the Race to the Top initiative, things like APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) and how weve been dealt that card and how we address that locally. At the same time were moving into Common Core implementation and thats presenting challenges as well. I want to bring a sense of normalcy to how those pieces are implemented, and how we structure that implementation process is important, Mr. Crist said.