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Briarcliff Superintendent to Depart in June, Kaishian to Take Over

The current Briarcliff High School principal will take over the school chief role, according to the Board of Education.

Three years before his contract expires, Neal Miller will be departing from Briarcliff Manor.

The current Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District superintendent's "active service to the district will conclude at the end of the school year on June 30th, 2013," Board of Education President Sal Maglietta announced in a community memo late Tuesday night.

Maglietta's letter to the community did not offer a reason or explanation for Miller's departure.

The superintendent  following the retirement of Dr. Frances Wills and an interim stint by Dr. Jerry Cicchelli.

Maglietta said of Miller's time with the district:

"During his time in the District, Superintendent Miller continued Briarcliff Manor School District’s  focus on educational excellence and student achievement.  Neal furthered this commitment to excellence by setting an optimistic tone and a sustained positive climate.  He helped prepare a reduced budget during difficult financial times that was tax cap compliant, while preserving all programs and staff positions. In addition, during his tenure a teachers’ collective bargaining agreement that had been worked on for more than a year was reached.  Mr. Miller reinstituted our District and Building Compact Committees to encourage shared decision-making and community input.  He worked with the Board of Education to implement the Capital Project as well as to address the remediation of our playing fields.  He provided strong leadership to our district and our  community as we fought through Storm Sandy and as we were saddened and alarmed by the incomprehensible tragedy that our neighbors in Newtown, Connecticut, experienced."

Miller's first-year salary was $235,000 and was set to go up each year at least 2.5 percent through June 30, 2016, according to his May 2011 contract. He was also eligible for up to a 10 percent annual performance bonus.

In a second, consecutive, letter, Maglietta announced current Briarcliff High School Principal James Kaishian will be taking over the reins as superintendent as of July 1.

"As you probably know, Mr. Kaishian has worked with the district in a variety of leadership capacities over the past twelve years, serving as principal in two of our three schools. We believe the appointment of Mr. Kaishian as our new school district leader will provide the schools, students, district teachers and staff and the community with a continuity of leadership and broad community awareness that is reassuring and proven," Maglietta wrote. "It is not often that a Board of Education has the opportunity to appoint an internal candidate to the top position, especially in a small school district. Over the past twelve years, Mr. Kashian has developed into a seasoned Briarcliff Manor leader, and our formal discussions with him have convinced us that he is ready to take on this most important challenge."

Debora French, assistant principal of BHS since 2005, will assume the role of principal this summer.

"Like Mr. Kaishian, the Board believes we are fortunate in being able to transition to a new leader at the high school who has had a long career with our students, families, and community," Magelitta noted.

In his letter, Maglietta included words from Kaishian as well—"Everyone who has passed through our building knows Mrs. French and I have been a team for almost eight years at the high school, so when this transition occurs in July, it will be as natural and seamless for our students and families as any change can be. Our partnership in the name of Briarcliff Manor’s students will only be strengthened."

Few other details about the changes were offered in Maglietta's letters, but he ended the second stating, "As your Board, we look forward to sharing more information on this transition in the coming months. Thank you for your continued support of our schools and community."

Stay tuned for updates to this announcement. See attached .pdfs for full text of Maglietta's letters.

McKey Rivers January 16, 2013 at 04:18 PM
So much for the days when Sal would lecture colleagues on the Board of Education about the need for transparency and community input in important decisions impacting Briarcliff schools. With these moves, Sal is repaying favors he owes to the teachers union.
Mike Valenti January 16, 2013 at 06:46 PM
The community all but demanded Jim Kaishian replace Fran Wills several years ago. The then current BOE wouldn't have it. That BOE ran Fran Wills out of the District. Then they strung us along for a year with Jerry Cicchelli and then mis-fired on their hiring of Neal Miller. This BOE has finally rectified the poor leadership decisions of a previous BOE. Jim Kaishian will be a terrific Superintendent. Furthermore, it is what the community wanted from the outset. It appears that this situation was handled with the appropriate level of discretion. Transparency is not always an option in Human Resource issues.
W Obermeyer January 16, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Thank you for this information. I was wondering if it was a "right the wrongs of the past" action, in which case transparent decision making would of course be optional.Hopefully this is not a new trend. No doubt that the incoming superintendent is well qualified.
Dan Harrison January 17, 2013 at 04:10 AM
Best source of info might be the samidzat. Dan Harrison
Gargamel January 18, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Samidzat: great analogy. it is truly amazing the "spin" that Billy and Mikey are shilling for this Board of Ed's star chamber performance.

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