ALEXANDRIA BAY Students will return from Christmas break with a new school superintendent.
Superintendent Robert B. Wagoner Jr. will step down and his position will be assumed by Fillmore Central School Principal Kyle F. Faulkner on Jan. 1. Mr. Wagoner will leave Alexandria Central School District after holding the position for seven years.
Mr. Faulkner said he is excited to make the move to Alexandria Central and begin being part of the community. It felt like a warm, welcoming place as soon as I walked in, Mr. Faulkner said. It felt familiar, like a place I wanted to be.
Jack J. Boak, district superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, said the appointment marks the end of a nearly six-month search to find a candidate with the right experience for the schools needs.
The board had a lengthy list of criteria, but experience was the primary reason he stood out from the other candidates, Mr. Boak said. His experience as an administrator was number one for us, but also his current district is a little larger than Alexandria Bay, so he knows what it means to work in a small school.
Mr. Faulkner is fifth- through 12th-grade principal at Fillmore Central, which has 735 students, where he started his 20-year career in public education. Before becoming a principal in 1999, he had taught seventh- through 12th-grade social studies at Fillmore Central since 1993.
The superintendent was chosen based on feedback the school board received from teaching staff, school administrators, noninstructional staff, students and community members.
Some of the criteria Mr. Boak said the district board was looking for in a superintendent included an education leader who would be active in community organizations; expertise in handling finance; familiarity with state education and commissioners regulations; commitment to excellence; high expectations for students, faculty and staff, and the ability to continue the development of a high-quality educational program.
One of the unusual things about working in a small school district is you have to wear many hats, dont always have the luxury of having staff members to do the other jobs, Mr. Boak said. We need someone who can delegate responsibilities, and coming from another small school hes shown he can do that.
Mr. Wagoner will begin his retirement with a trip across the country, driving to Arizona and Florida in the coming months. When we get back from our trip Ill decide what else Im going to do with my retirement, he said.
Mr. Wagoner, who has worked in education for 40 years, said when he started his career as a high school math teacher in 1973, he never thought he eventually would work in administration. I felt I could do more by being an administrator, he said.
Now, he said, he looks forward to enjoying more free time with his wife, Constance Connie Wagoner, and his three adult children, Johnna A. Covey, Robert F. Wagoner III and Etosha A. Farmer.
Its time to let someone else have the opportunity to take the district in a new direction, Mr. Wagoner said.
Some of the challenges with which he wished his successor luck were tackling the changing New York state learning standards and implementing Common Core training.
It isnt that it cant be done, but its going to take time to get it, Mr. Wagoner said.
Mr. Faulkner said he is excited to bring his more than 15 years of administrative experience in a small, rural school.
Im familiar with what faces small, rural communities and the struggles they have, Mr. Faulkner said. Im excited to get started.