2013-07-03 / Front Page

Haldane Superintendent Says It’s Time to Go

Villanti gives Board a retirement date of 12/31/13
By Annie Chesnut

Dr. Mark Villanti at Tuesday's Board meeting. Photo / Annie ChesnutDr. Mark Villanti at Tuesday's Board meeting. Photo / Annie Chesnut

Tuesday’s 5 p.m. school board reorganization meeting of the Haldane Central School District marked the swearing-in of a new President, Gillian Thorpe, and a new Vice President, Peter Henderson, as well as some other routine reorganizational matters and an academic presentation presided over by High School Principal Brian Alm.

But the biggest news of all occurred during a brief Correspondence agenda item near the end of the meeting: Haldane Superintendent Mark Villanti is retiring on December 31 of this year.

Villanti, who said he had promised to give the district five years when he arrived, and has now served close to seven, appeared emotional, but also relieved to have delivered the news.

Although two board members, Evan Schwartz and newcomer Jennifer Daly, were unable to be at the late-afternoon meeting, it was clear from the faces of the other trustees that this is challenging news. Villanti, by all reports and observations, is a beloved leader who has steered Haldane with both strength and sensitivity during his tenure there.

Thorpe shared the news by reading only a brief portion of Villanti’s official farewell letter to the Board, citing the desire not to cry.

In a brief conversation after the meeting Villanti told the PCN&R that he will miss all of the Haldane community members.

The second of two summer Board meetings is scheduled for 5 p.m. on August 13, at which time the board will no doubt go into further detail about how to proceed over the next half year before Villanti’s departure. There is also an August 25 Board Retreat that will be held in part in the Mabel Merritt Building on campus so that an Executive Session--which will include the district’s attorney--can review plans for contract negotiations as well as options for seeking Villanti’s replacement.

Watch for more news on this development throughout the coming months.

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