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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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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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