Skaneateles schools to extend Pastel, eliminate principal position

Gerst to take over as middle school principal, Widrick as K through 5 principal

The Skaneateles Central School District is undergoing big personnel changes this year.

The Skaneateles Central School District is undergoing big personnel changes this year. Photo by Joe Genco.

Gerst has experience with the middle school, because he started his career as a teacher there. He later was a curriculum coordinator for Skaneateles before working as an elementary principal in the West Genesee District and now principal at Waterman since the fall of 2012.

Starting in February, the district’s three principals will all be in new roles as Widrick and Gerst join recently-hired Gregory Santoro, who is in his first year with the district as high school principal.

Declining enrollment is a big reason that this downsizing makes sense for the district, Pastel said. The most recent graduating class had more than 140 students while the incoming group of kindergarteners only has about 80 students, a drastic drop in enrollment for a 13-year period, she said.

Though the district has no immediate plans at the moment to combine its two elementary schools into one building, the change to one principal will keep that option open for the district in the future, she said.

“If in 5,6,7 years, if that’s an option that the board of education at that time and the community feels is the appropriate way to go, then yes. What I’m trying to do is build choices and possibilities,” she said.

Pastel to stay with district through 2014-15 school year

Board president Kathryn Carlson read a prepared statement at the meeting stating that the board has decided to postpone its search for a new superintendent of schools until the fall of 2014. Judy Pastel has also agreed to stay on with the district as interim superintendent through the end of June 2015. The board hopes to select its new superintendent by February 2015 and have that person be ready to take over by the end of that school year.

The decision comes in light of a number of big changes in the district including turnover of administrators, new state mandates on testing and teacher evaluations, tax caps, reduced state aid and declining enrollment, Carlson said.

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