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Germantown schools chief says he’s retiring early


GERMANTOWN—When the Board of Education holds its first meeting of 2013 Wednesday, January 9 at 7 p.m. in the music room of the elementary school, the meeting will coincide with the official retirement of Superintendent Patrick Gabriel.

The superintendent’s departure was announced at a hastily called special meeting December 19.

Last week Mr. Gabriel told The Columbia Paper that he expects to stay on as interim superintendent “until August. But it’s up to the board, and I can’t speak for them. The board will determine with me what role I’ll play after January 9.”

Staying on as interim means Mr. Gabriel will propose the 2013-14 school district budget. Last spring’s budget process was a cantankerous affair, requiring multiple drafts from Mr. Gabriel and resulting in a divided board and a budget that was voted down by the public. A second budget, which kept the tax rate below the state-mandated 2%, passed.

Mr. Gabriel, who lives in East Greenbush, was previously superintendent of the New Lebanon Central School District and held positions with the state Education Department and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. He became superintendent of the Germantown Central School District in October 2006 on a five-year contract. In 2011 the board extended his contract to June 30, 2014.

Mr. Gabriel, 64, said he is looking ahead to retirement and would like to spend more time with his son, who lives on the West Coast, and with his daughter and two grandchildren in Bethesda, MD.

The current annual budget for the superintendent’s position is $145,736, he said.

Board president Eric Mortenson noted that early in 2012 an Administrative Research Committee was established “to look at administrative structures, to see if there is a way to streamline the administration and produce the same results for less [money].

“Now,” he said, “the full board wants to work together” on the change of superintendent. While the state requires each district to have a superintendent, Mr. Mortenson said that he expected the board to look at all possibilities, including a shared or part-time superintendent or changes in other administrative areas. “Everyone on the board has different views,” he noted. “We have to work toward consensus.”

In the meantime, the new state-mandated teacher review, while it may be an effective tool, said Mr. Mortenson, is very time-intensive within the district. Teachers and administrators need time to become accustomed to the new review system, and administrative change is “mostly like not something we can move on quickly,” he said.



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