ICC schools super faces DWI charge

KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane Central School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo is on indefinite, unpaid leave. Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow was appointed acting superintendent at a special board meeting Tuesday, April 9.

News broke Monday morning that Mr. Vanyo, 51, was arrested by the Saratoga Sheriff’s Office for DWI – operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater – leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and an improper right turn. According to a press release for the sheriff’s office, they “responded to a call of a property damage motor vehicle crash on Maple Avenue in the Town of Wilton on April 6 at 8:33 p.m. where one of the involved vehicles reportedly left the scene.” The sheriff’s office did not release Mr. Vanyo’s BAC.

Mr. Vanyo, who lives in Saratoga Springs, was processed and released to a third party. He is scheduled to appear in the Wilton Town Court on a later date.

Ichabod Crane Board of Education President Matthew Nelson talks with the press after a meeting on Monday, April 8. Photo by Emilia Teasdale

The Board of Education met Sunday evening and again on Monday, when the meeting included the school district’s attorney in a closed door session. On Tuesday night the board held a special board meeting and again went into a closed door session with district lawyers. After about 45 minutes, the board returned to the open session and announced that they were granting Mr. Vanyo a leave of absence from his position. The board said in a statement that Mr. Vanyo had requested the unpaid leave and would be out “until further notice.”

In the press release about the leave, the board wrote, “Considering the serious nature of these allegations, the Board of Education believes that it is in the best interest of the district to grant this request.”

Mr. Vanyo was not at the meetings on Monday or Tuesday. At the Monday meeting the board could not take any action because one board member, Jeffrey Ouellette, was not at the meeting and could not be reached to sign a waiver so the board could take action without him. The board could take no formal action without the full board present or a waiver for the absent board member, according to school board President Matthew Nelson. At the Monday meeting, Mr. Nelson told the press and handful of residents and one student present, that the “superintendent is still on the job and we expect that he will still be here tomorrow.”

The audience at the Tuesday evening meeting included several students, parents and district employees and a few residents spoke before the board went into executive session.

One parent asked about the board meeting over the weekend. Mr. Nelson said on Sunday Mr. Vanyo met with the board.

The motion adopted by the board at the Tuesday meeting says in part that the board “hereby grants the request of the Superintendent for a voluntary unpaid leave of absence, effective immediately and until further notice, and to apply the balance of any accrued leave time to the period of such leave of absence; and it is further resolved that pursuant to Board Policy No. 3200, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools shall serve as Acting Superintendent for so long as the Superintendent shall remain on leave.”

Ms. Guntlow previously acted as assistant to the acting superintendent last fall while Mr. Vanyo was out on medical leave after an accident he suffered while on vacation. Mr. Vanyo returned to the district in November after recovering from surgery.

Ms. Guntlow could not be appointed acting superintendent last fall because she did not have the certification for the position; she carried out the day-to-day duties of the superintendent but Dr. Gladys Cruz, the Questar III/BOCES superintendent, filled in. Ms. Guntlow has since met the requirements and was appointed assistant superintendent by the board in March.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Nelson said that Dr. Cruz had reached out to the district, saying that she was also willing to help while Mr. Vanyo is on leave.

Mr. Vanyo was hired by the district in July of 2017.

Mr. Nelson said at the meeting on Tuesday that letter will go home in student’s backpacks about Mr. Vanyo’s leave. An email went to district parents on Tuesday night.

“The Board will continue to monitor the situation and is prepared to meet as soon as necessary for any additional action,” the email to parents reads. Information is also posted on the district’s Facebook page and website at www.ichabodcrane.org.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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