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Edward Kliszus Named as New Schools Superintendent

Edward Kliszus was appointed schools superintendent Wednesday night by the Board of Education.

The Port Chester Board of Education bypassed a popular long-time district administrator in favor of long-rumored frontrunner Edward Kliszus at Wednesday night's meeting.

With a 3-2 vote, the board appointed Kliszus, who currently works as superintendent in Hackensack, NJ.

Kliszus, who is set to retire from his current post on June 30, is the district's third superintendent this year, following Donald Carlisle, who led the district for the better part of five years, and Thomas C. Elliott, who was superintendent for a six-month interim period that ended earlier this month.

In a vote that mirrored Elliott's appointment earlier this year, long-time board members Anne Capeci and James Dreves advocated for hiring Assistant Superintendent Frank Fanelli, while members Jim Taylor, Blanca Lopez and Carolee Brakewood voted in favor of Kliszus.

"We were looking for people who take this career seriously and are deep thinkers," Taylor said.

Lopez called the vote "probably the hardest and most important decision" she's had to make during her time on the board.

"There is a tendency to believe we have the local talent" to take the reigns of the school district and build on previous successes, Lopez said. But, echoing an earlier statement by Taylor, she said Kliszus has the "experience and talent" to guide Port Chester schools in the immediate future.

Calling the choice "definitely wrong," Dreves advocated for Fanelli before the vote was called.

"Frank Fanelli would have stepped into the job and led us on to great things in the future," Dreves said.

Turning toward the rest of the board, he offered the last comments before the vote: "I really think you're making a big mistake."

Kliszus will look to build on recent successes in Port Chester schools, including two national Blue Ribbon awards, as well as guide the district through unique challenges like overcrowded classrooms, and more common challenges faced by other school districts. Port Chester was among dozens of local school districts dealing with steep cuts in a still-stagnant economy and lean budget year. Next time around, the district's budget vote will be constrained by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recently enacted tax cap.

Check back with Port Chester Patch for updates.

Update, 9:38 p.m.: The latest version of this story now includes reaction from school board members.

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John B July 02, 2011 at 12:27 PM
After reading some of Mr. Mutino's post, I am quite pleased that none of my children had him for a teacher.
Blanca P. Lopez July 02, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Mr. Mutino, for your information, Mr. Johnson is currently in Vietnam on vacation. He left a couple of days ago. This trip is very special for him and his family, especially for his son. I highly doubt that he would make any time, whatsoever, to submit posts while out of the country.
Robert Reis July 02, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Mr. Mutino, you stated, "A concern to say the least, especially when the teachers endorsed Lopez, Brakewood, and Johnson." ...what are you suggesting about Port Chester's teachers?
Jennie B. July 02, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Isn't this link an example of cyber-bullying? "the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others" - cyber-bullying.org. Mr. Mutino should take this page down, and him and Ms. Touri should apologize to Mr. Johnson for spreading lies. He is giving PC teachers a bad rep. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
Al Dente July 02, 2011 at 02:05 PM
Ian, the ass-backwards posters seem to have one thing in common. They either were or are spouses of past school board members. Some people do their service then move on to life's next adventure. Others seem to have difficulty moving on and take it out on their successors. Whether this is the result of jealousy, megalomania, or a simple lack of decency is up for debate. I would like to personally add that I wish the new superintendent and Mr. Johnson the best of luck in their new roles.
Cadeyrn July 02, 2011 at 02:30 PM
In all due respect, your opinion is not universally shared. Folks do have legitimate reasons for maintaining their anonymity ... whether you like it or not. Patch sets the guidelines. Not you.
Cadeyrn July 02, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Interesting observation. Perhaps their agenda surpasses the circle of cronyism ... and actually zeroes in on what's best for the village schools.
Robert Reis July 02, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Mr. Mutino, you stated, "A concern to say the least, especially when the teachers endorsed Lopez, Brakewood, and Johnson." ...what are you suggesting about Port Chester's teachers?
PC Lover July 03, 2011 at 04:50 PM
In the current Westmore News, BOE member Ann Capeci is quoted: “Irrespective of the credentials, we have overlooked a man who has helped make this district one of the best in Westchester,” said Capeci. Irrespective of credentials? She wanted to choose a superintendent "irrespective of credentials?" That's how Capeci operates...cronyism and status quo. That Capeci is bold enough to say it out loud in public speaks volumes about the old boy attitude in PC. They just think it's OK....like slavery in the old south...what's all the fuss? Kudos to the sane, fresh, new BOE members who stood up to that kind of peer pressure and nepotism. It took PARENTS to finally wrestle back control of our schools. The children of Port Chester won this skirmish. Best of luck to Dr. Kliszus...get out your trumpet Sir and blow your horn! Let's make beautiful music together! God Bless Port Chester.
Jennifer Greatrex July 03, 2011 at 06:43 PM
In reading the thread of comments here I can't help but feel a little sick. The behavior on display is incredibly disheartening. So many adults on both sides of the debate ranting and raving. Nik said it, "debate is good" -- I wholeheartidly agree, but most people here are not engaging in intelligent debate. If we behave like this towards one another and talk in such a manner... what are we as parents and adults in this community teaching our children? It would be so nice if instead of all the conjecture, each person could outline one area that they view to be important for the new Superintendent and Board of Education to address. And then be prepared to discuss it with them in an open and solutions-oriented way. My agenda items would be: 1) district-wide fundraising (partnering more with Tamarack Tower to build upon fantastic events like the Taste of Port Chester) and 2) marketing/pr to change the perceptions of the district and finally 3) how to further improve test scores to be right on par with neighboring communities without "teaching to the test" as much as possible. Anyone else want to discuss some of the big ticket items that our new Superintendent will need to address (with our community's support)?
Bishop Nowotnik July 04, 2011 at 03:30 AM
Jennifer, As the current President of Tamarack Tower Foundation I wish to thank you for the plug and second your feelings about the taste of Port Chester. The event was successful on many levels. We raised over $12,000 for the Foundation and everyone seemed to have a good time. Tamarack Tower Foundation is geared to support the schools in a variety of ways, but we are limited to smaller projects due to are overall funding being not as robust as we would like. I do think that our community is a generous one and they will support funding for exceptional programs like the recent anti-bullying program; Rachel's Challenge, that Tamarack Tower funded at the PC Middle school. I feel a turf field at the Middle School is a project worth going after. This will benefit the schools physical Education programs and the community at large. I think we should be looking into more technology, to better focus teaching, tablet computers for students and teachers would enable better student/teacher connections and tracking progress. I would recommend expanding into the business sector for training partnerships to expose students to real work experiences and foster a better understanding of why learning is important. Some of these types of programs need lots of money; some just need lots of volunteering, however, all of these need commited community to bring them to fruition. We welcome the communitiy's support in either case.
Cadeyrn July 04, 2011 at 10:31 AM
comments are still not appearing
Augusta Regalia July 04, 2011 at 01:22 PM
"A deep thinker" - wow ! Yeah, that's what we need, a deep thinker. Fasten your seat belts and open your wallets PC residents, this will be an interesting ride...
Robert Reis July 04, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Mr. Mutino, you stated, "A concern to say the least, especially when the teachers endorsed Lopez, Brakewood, and Johnson." - What are you suggesting about Port Chester's teachers?
Robert Reis July 04, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Mr. Mutino, you stated, "A concern to say the least, especially when the teachers endorsed Lopez, Brakewood, and Johnson." - What are you suggesting about Port Chester's teachers?
Al Dente July 04, 2011 at 03:30 PM
I see we will be paying the new superintendent $33,000 less than our former long-term superintendent. Getting a deep thinker for a reasonable salary is much preferred to getting a shallow thinker at a higher cost.
Bishop Nowotnik July 04, 2011 at 04:09 PM
"Saying it and doing it are two different things." However, the price cut is most welcome and unexpected. How much does a deep thought cost these days?I would rather take a pragmatic doer over a deep thinker on most days.
Bishop Nowotnik July 04, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Above message was incomplete and premature. "Talk is cheap." "Ideas are a dime a dozen." "Saying it and doing it are two different things." These are phrases that have become axioms to most parents with children and rightfully so. What UFSD#4 needs are actionable ideas and true performance measures. These need to be pushed by the BOE as well as the Superintendent. For this, I would rather take a pragmatic doer over a deep thinker on most days. One of my favorites is, "God helps those who help themselves." Now is the time for our community to come together and push for measurable perfomance improvements, both academic and financial. We must not sit idly by and expect that change will manifest itself. Improvements in educational acheivement will come if the people demand them and are willing to work for them. However, the Superintendent price cut is most welcome and unexpected.
Joan Conklin July 04, 2011 at 05:27 PM
I've been out of town and am just now reading the various comments about the hiring of the new Superintendent. First of all, I would like to thank Jennifer Greatex for her "shoutout" to our Tamarack Tower's "Taste of Port Chester". I've been a friend of Frank Fanelli for 38 years. I absolutely will NOT participate in all the nasty comments that I've been reading but, I will state , without hesitation, that the School Board has missed an opportunity to hire one of the most knowledgable and decent human being that I ever met in my 46 years of teaching. If Frank has one flaw, it is that he doesn't "toot his own horn" enough!!! I've seen people in Education do one little thing and brag about it to the sky, so that everyone realizes how "important" they are!! And then there's Frank, quietly running the school district when the other superindendents have been lookingfor other jobs, going to Greece on vacation etc. Certainly, everyone should and will come together to support this "new" superindendent ( who will no doubt being relying heavily on the insider named Frank Fanelli). This is what we do in Port Chester and will continue to do.
PC Lover July 05, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Just more sour grapes from Mr. Mutino who was never able to get the support of the teachers union. A union he belonged and paid dues to for umpteen years, but not a union that could endorse him for the BOE. That must have hurt.
PC Lover July 05, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Mr. Reis, that is just more sour grapes from Mr. Mutino. Mr. Mutino was a long time member of the teachers union who failed to be endorsed for the BoE by his own union. What does that say? Ouch!
PC Lover July 05, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Mr. Reis, that is just more sour grapes from Mr. Mutino. Mr. Mutino was a long time member of the teachers union who failed to be endorsed for the BoE by his own union. What does that say? Ouch!
Yvette Segal July 07, 2011 at 03:23 AM
It's always the same people who bash. It's always the same who choose to use "adult" bully tactics. It's always the same who create the divide. It's always the same who speak with a lack of respect(and gain none). It's always the same who dislike change (unless they institute it). I am personally so tired of those "same" voices and it's my hope that the residents of Port Chester tire of them as well. It's those very same voices who embarrass themselves(and the village). I welcome the change while I also commend those who have dedicated a lifetime to our schools. We need to work towards one goal, while we work together to make a difference for the future of our children. I think we all want what is best for the community and our children. P.S. I do agree, if you are going to present a point of view don't do it in a cowardly fashion. Identify yourself and stand behind your words not behind a keyboard.
Pete Mutino July 07, 2011 at 10:36 AM
PC Must Now Unite and Support our Schools The following was posted July 4th. A democratic debate of an issue such as the appointment of a new superintendent is healthy and welcomed. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech, however, I believe that all should stand up to their convictions and sign their real first and last names and be accountable as did the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence, 235 years ago today (July 4th). The new appointment of a superintendent was a huge mistake and overlooked Frank Fanelli. Think it is fair to say the appointment was very emotional and controversial issue with a 3 to 2 Board of Education vote. With the above said it is now time to UNITE bdhind the new superintendent, BOE, administration, parents, student and teachers for continued quest to provide the best educational district. Our educational district should now focus on the following: STRATEGIC PLANNING, a renewed 5 YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN, a renewed 5 YEAR TECHNOLOGY PLAN, FOCUS ON IMPOROVED COMMUNICATION PLAN as recommended by Advisory Committee and focus on STUDENT ADVOCATE GROUPS at all levels, just to name a few. Personally I will continue my support of Tamarack Tower Foundation (President from 2003 to 2010) with its mission to support our public schools. Hoping that interested people will email me at pjm51946@aol.com or note this on Patch or Facebook. Pete Mutino
PC Lover July 07, 2011 at 11:13 AM
Ms. Segal, it is great that you do not hide behind the keyboard and present your views in a non-cowardly fashion. I am curious exactly who you believe are the "same people who bash and use bully tactics and dislike change?"
PC Lover July 07, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Pete you almost rose above your own mediocracy but you had to throw in a divisive, nasty stir of the pot. Couldn't help yourself. Just as people were starting to move forward and embrace the future, there's good ole Pete...dividing and bashing and getting in your (hopefully) parting shot against a foregone conclusion....trying to slide it in there disguised along with your call for unity. A leopard cannot change it's spots. Just pathetic. You are going to make Mrs. Greatrex sick all over again.
Joan Conklin July 07, 2011 at 12:07 PM
PC Lover , whoever you are. Whatever you say has no credibility because you are not willing to identify yourself!!! Pete Mutino has been a hard-working teacher, Board of Education member and Presient of Tamarack Tower Foundation for many years. He has tirelessly worked for the students of Port Chester. As a matter of fact, he is the one who restarted Tamarack Tower a few years ago. Without him there would not have been this wonderful Foundation that has given out scholarships, grants, retored the H.S. library, beautified the grounds of the High School, brought the town of P.C. together with a "Taste of Port Chester" etc. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??????
Aidan July 07, 2011 at 12:45 PM
I think this thread has drifted to an uncomfortable place. There was a lively and passionate discussion of who should become the new school leader. Folks stated their case ... most very fairly and eloquently. I also think that even those who did not favor an in-district candidate were very acknowledging of the enormous contributions of those who did not survive the search. It was lively, and it was passionate. But now, there is an uncomfortableness ... and sniping sort of exchanges. Why not re-direct that energy and passion so that the youngsters are served, the taxpayers are treated fairly and so those who serve our children have a sense of community support? They, in turn, need to recognize and accept the circumstances of the day ... and acknowledge that this is a pivoting time. Things must change ... and it all falls into all our hands. As for one's anonymity, Ms. Conklin, no one's credibility is pinched by using a screen name. There are legitimate reasons for shielding one's identity ... if one cares to examine such a thing closely and fairly. PC Lover's comments are not compromised by this ... save for some who don't favor his comments. However, others, myself included, have listened intently ... and appreciate his observations and his contributions to this debate. And I appreciate yours as well. Time to move on ... and to offer ideas and support.
PC Lover July 07, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Ms. Conklin you may question my credibility all you want however it does not change the facts. Mr. Mutino apparently cannot stop himself from taking pot shots at the Board and their decisions. I find it reprehensible, especially from a past member of the board, and I call him on it. He lobbied and petitioned hard for Mr. Fanelli, and when he did not get his way he took to these public forums to attack the current Board, denigrate them, and divide the community. In addition, Mr. Mutino launched a pogrom to uncover my identity...with false allegations, accusations, name calling and he even went so far as to post a Facebook page dedicated to his lies and false accusations. Do you think that was appropriate as well? In my opinion it is just stupid and creepy. Believe it or not I have done alot for the community, however I do not do so to receive accolades or feel the need to constantly remind people of my accomplishments and service.
Nik Bonopartis July 07, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Agreed. I'm closing comments on this thread. Onward. We're going to reach out to the new superintendent and the school board members for some Q&A-style interviews with a focus on the next school year and priorities going forward. Since so many people in Port Chester are passionate about school issues, I'd like to get some input from readers regarding what you believe are the most pressing issues. Overcrowding? The budget? Academic scores? E-mail me at [nik at patch dot com] with questions you'd like us to ask of school officials, and we'll work the best questions into the interviews. Thanks.

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