Jun 30, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
In his 14 years in the Cazenovia Central School District — 10 of those as superintendent — Bob Dubik has achieved many successes, made institutional changes, passed 10 budgets, attended at least one event for every school sport and extracurricular activity offered and been a constant and visible participant in community organizations and events.
“I’m a proud father,” Dubik said after ticking off the numerous accomplishments of Cazenovia students he has fostered and witnessed since he became superintendent in 2004. “I’m proud of everything, not just one thing that we’ve accomplished. … Certainly there are things I will miss, especially the kids — seeing them every day, getting hugs, cards, well-wishes from parents, the thank yous and appreciation from community members.”
“I will not miss calling snow days or a rain day for June graduation,” he added with a smile.
Last Saturday’s commencement ceremonies for the Cazenovia High School Class of 2014 were, in fact, Dubik’s last as superintendent. He retired on June 30, after a career of more than 30 years in education.
“I’ve had a great career,” Dubik said. “Every single place I’ve been I’ve learned, I’ve met and worked with great people and everyone has benefited. … I’m leaving with as much excitement and passion about education as when I came.”
In his career in education, Dubik has been a teacher as well as an administrator; worked in rural, suburban and urban districts, both public and private; and taught both general education and special needs students. This diversity of experiences through the years helped him became a well-rounded educator who learned as much as he taught in every position he held, he said.
Dubik, who is originally from Erie, Penn., began teaching in 1976 as a third and fourth grade teacher at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Erie — the same classroom, in fact, in which he was student. He worked there for four years, during which time he also achieved his degree in business, and then moved to the city of Syracuse, which was his wife’s hometown.
In 1980, Dubik began work at Fowler High School in the Syracuse City School District, where he taught special education for five years and served as summer school principal. During this time, he also worked as the director of education for Elmcrest Children’s Center, a private school in Syracuse. These positions were “great learning experiences,” he said, exposing him to special education students, minorities, inner city educational atmosphere and the social work aspect of the private school.
The job at Elmcrest, specifically, was Dubik’s “big education in leadership, staff development and bringing people together,” he said. These were valuable lessons to which he paid attention because, even at that early stage in his educational career, “I always had in mind that I wanted to be a superintendent,” he said.
Eventually, Dubik went on to become an administrative intern at Porter and Seymour elementary schools in the Syracuse city district.
Dubik came to Cazenovia in 1991 to serve as assistant principal of Cazenovia High School under then-Principal Tom Long. Three years later, Dubik was hired to become principal at Burton Street Elementary School, where he stayed from 1993 to 1995.
During the 1994-95 school year, Dubik instituted a new multi-age classroom program — the same program that still exists today. “It’s been a successful program because of the teachers in that program, not my leadership,” Dubik said.
In 1996, Dubik decided to make a lateral move and become the principal at Chestnut Hill Elementary School in the Liverpool Central School District. “I didn’t want to leave, but Liverpool offered more opportunity for growth, and I needed to learn more to be a superintendent,” he said.
In 1998, he accepted a position with Waterloo Central School District as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. In 2002, he left Waterloo to lead Port Byron Central Schools as superintendent.
Port Byron was a “great experience,” Dubik said, but he always knew he wanted to get back to Cazenovia. And then in 2004, the district advertised for a new superintendent. So he submitted his application.
“After a lengthy search and interview process, [Bob] was one of two finalists that the Board of Education deadlocked on,” remembered Ed Roickle, BOE President in 2004. “At the suggestion of Jessica Cohen, the BOCES superintendent who was leading the search process for us, we asked both finalists to come in with a vision and a plan for the Cazenovia Central School District. Bob’s presentation knocked the ball out of the park, so to speak, and there was no doubt after that who the new superintendent would be. I have never regretted our decision for a moment.”
Dubik said his selection as Cazenovia superintendent was “kind of a full loop” after leaving the district nine years earlier — and he was “chomping at the bit” to get back and get to work that summer he was hired.
During his 10-year tenure as superintendent, the Cazenovia district has had numerous accomplishments of which he is proud, he said, including: the creation of cultural diversity programs with Syracuse city students; the community service requirement for graduation; the institution of new electives, new AP classes and college dual credit classes; state and national recognition for the high school’s Project Lead the Way, agriculture, engineering and music programs; the numerous local and state awards and championships won by Cazenovia athletes; $19 million in district physical improvements; 10 budgets passed by voters; and, – the one that “has to be the highlight,” he said – the recognition of Burton Street Elementary as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Yet, in listing these accomplishments, Dubik never says “I” — he always says “we” when discussing the achievements.
“It’s the work of everybody in place — students, staff, teachers, coaches, building principals, administrators, the board of education — really it’s everybody, everybody needs to be recognized,” he said.
Looking back over his 38-year career in education, Dubik said has no regrets, and he is “absolutely proud” of his many accomplishments.
“This is a great place to end my career,” Dubik said. “The district is a better place than when I came, and Matt [Reilly, the incoming superintendent] can continue the high academic expectations because he has the staff and the teachers in place to do that.”
Dubik may be leaving the school district, but he and his wife Terri have no plans to leave Cazenovia, he said. Terri retired last year, “so she’s all ready for me,” Dubik said with a laugh.
He said they have no specific retirement plans, other than to visit their two grown sons more often, work outside and maybe play some golf.
“We will continue to be part of the community, but I will stay out of the hair of the new superintendent and the board of education,” he said with a grin.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.