CHATHAM–The Chatham Central School District officially has a new superintendent and he says he’s ready for the challenge.
Dr. Salvatore DeAngelo, whose appointment was confirmed by the Board of Education in January, formally to over as Superintendent July 1 after recently completing his seventh year as the chief technology officer with Bethlehem Central School District in Delmar. He has over 30 years of experience as an educator.
“People have asked why I would be interested in going to a smaller, more rural school,” said Dr. DeAngelo. “And I think the answer is simple—I feel you can have a much larger impact when you’re able to get to know people at a more personal level.”
Born and raised in the Schenectady area, where he currently lives with his family, Dr. DeAngelo won’t be moving too far from home. He has two daughters–one in college and the other in high school. His wife is a speech pathologist. Dr. DeAngelo, who has taught in and around Schenectady for most of his career, has an MBA from Norwich University as well as a PhD from Sage College in educational leadership. He said he has always had a passion for learning.
“I’ve worked for a number of superintendents, and I always like to think that I’m a lifelong learner,” he said in a recent interview just before he took over from Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo. She announced her plan to retire last year.
“I was always observing what I thought good and potentially not-so-good leadership looked like and so I’d like to think that whatever the situation, I’ve always learned from it.”
The new superintendent also says that having children has prepared him for the job by making him much more “student-centric.”
As a parent he is concerned with how the decisions made at an executive level will affect those further away from the decision—not only teachers and members of the community, but especially students. He says when making difficult decisions, he always wants to be sure that whatever choice is made is in the interest of his students and can help them reach their full potential.
“Like in anything, when you have multiple perspectives, you can make better decisions,” Dr. DeAngelo said. “And having the perspective of a parent is one that is very valuable in this job.”
In addition to this, having a strong personal relationship with students and community members is high on Dr. DeAngelo’s list of priorities and forms the baseline of his philosophy.
In recent years, the Chatham district’s declining enrollment has been a concern for school officials and the community. At one point, there was a plan to close the middle school on Woodbridge Avenue and downsize the district into the elementary and high school buildings alone. Asked about the current situation, Dr. DeAngelo responded that Chatham is fortunate right now, because he doesn’t feel that it is currently in a place where it needs to downsize in the near future.
But while it isn’t a concern in the short-term, he said, “I think rural schools in New York in general need to consider whether it would make more sense to do shared services and share some consolidation to make sure they can really provide the best programs possible for their students.”
Dr. DeAngelo added that Chatham is in decent shape currently, and that he feels incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity.
“I’m excited to be at the helm and working collaboratively with the leadership that’s already in place to continue the kind of excellence and the great sense of community pride that the families and students of Chatham have.”