Former superintendent brings expertise
SINCLAIRVILLE – In less than 24 hours, Thomas Schmidt went from retirement to superintendency.
Luckily for Schmidt, who was appointed as interim superintendent of Cassadaga Valley Central School on Tuesday, this isn’t his first time at the helm of a rural school district.
Prior to his retirement in August of last year, Schmidt previously served as superintendent of Sherman Central School – a position he began in 2006. In utilizing a skillset achieved through many years in academia, Schmidt said he is now prepared to help the Cassadaga Valley school district move forward after the sudden resignation of former superintendent Scott Smith was formally accepted by the Board of Education on Tuesday.
“Mr. Smith’s resignation went into effect Monday, so I actually began Tuesday night because it’s important to get somebody aboard to do the work that needs to be done,” Schmidt said during his first day of service on Wednesday. “But I am looking forward to working with the community, board, staff and students to continue the quality education that takes place here at Cassadaga Valley. And, together, we will work hard to make sure that there are no disruptions in the classroom and the educational process.”
Having already performed the duties the leadership role demands, Schmidt was naturally prepared to assume the position of superintendent when he received a call from David O’Rourke, Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES district superintendent, stating that Cassadaga Valley may soon be without one.
“I received a phone call from Dr. O’Rourke asking me if I would be interested in an interim superintendency with a district that might be losing its superintendent,” Schmidt said. “I told him that I would be interested, and he asked if I could meet with the Cassadaga Valley board (Tuesday) night for an interview.”
Schmidt said he met with the board during its special meeting on Tuesday, underwent the interview process and was subsequently offered the job in a matter of hours. Despite the quick nature of the transition process for both himself and the school district, Schmidt said doing so was crucial to the process of moving forward.
“They need someone here,” he said. “It’s a job that I enjoyed doing when I was at Sherman, and I look forward to doing it here at Cassadaga Valley.”
Schmidt’s appointment comes in the midst of a tumultuous week for Cassadaga Valley, in which its former superintendent resigned following questions about his “interactions with another district employee.” The approval of Smith’s resignation by the board was coupled with an undisclosed settlement reached between the district and high school Principal Tara DiDomenico.
“The board also approved an agreement between the district and high school Principal Dr. Tara DiDomenico, the terms of which the board is not able to disclose at this time,” said Carl Perry, board president, while reading a statement during Tuesday’s meeting.
Smith signed a five-year contract in May 2011 at an annual salary of $131,500, while DiDomenico was hired in July 2012 after serving as house 1 principal 1 at Orchard Park High School for four years prior. Her CVCS position was classified as a 12-month position, subject to a two-year probationary period, at an annual salary of $88,000.
Schmidt was contracted to serve as interim superintendent through the remainder of the 2013-14 school year, with a term set to expire June 30, 2014.