By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FONDA -- The Fonda-Fulton-ville Central School District Board of Education unanimously appointed Elementary School Principal Thomas Ciaccio as associate superintendent and principal during a board meeting Monday.
Ciaccio will be mentored by current Superintendent Raymond Colucciello for the next year and will eventually take over as superintendent.
"I am very excited about this opportunity to work with the board of education and Colucciello over this next year, and to try to do some of the things that have been talked about," Ciaccio said. "It is about providing as many opportunities as we can for our students to give them the tools they need to be successful."
The board also extended Colucciello's contract until June 2015. His current contract was scheduled to end this coming Monday.
Colucciello thanked the board and said he looks forward to mentoring Ciaccio and working with the board of education for another year.
"It is going to be a great year. We have a lot of things to get done," he said.
Following the votes, Colucciello and Ciaccio took their oaths of office, which were administered by district clerk Lori Coons. Their contracts don't officially begin until July 1.
Ciaccio was appointed to the position over fellow candidate and Fonda-Fultonville High School Principal David Halloran.
"It was a tough decision," board president Timothy Wendell said. "We could see the potential in both candidates."
Ciaccio has served as principal of the Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School for three and a half years. Prior to his current role, he served as an administrator in the Special Education Department at Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES for three years.
Since he has never served as a superintendent, Wendell said, the board decided to make him associate superintendent/principal so he could continue in his current role while being mentored for the new one.
"We tried to gear it so that we are developing candidates from within," Wendell said. "Colucciello's contract is not necessarily a full year. It is whenever Ciaccio is ready."
Ciaccio plans to get to work right away and begin implementing parts of his entry plan, which was presented to the public June 9.
"My first step is to work with Colucciello, who has many years of experience. He has a lot of knowledge to impart on myself and I am excited to learn from him," Ciaccio said. "He is going to give me an opportunity to grow."
The entry plan involves talking with the community, staff, students and board of education to find out common values that can move the district forward, what the strengths and weaknesses are, and the key issues facing the district.
He is also planning a document and policy review such as budget and audit reports, and collective bargaining contracts. It also involves looking at school systems such as transportation, facilities and food service and making sure they are running smoothly and together.
Another part of his plan involves the budget process. Ciaccio said he plans to take part in a series of workshops and training sessions and work as a team with Colucciello and district treasurer Carey Shultz.
Ciaccio also plans to be a visible presence inside and outside of the district by attending not only school functions but visiting classrooms and attending village meetings.
Wendell said the board doesn't plan to search for a replacement elementary school principal right away. Rather, they are going to wait about six months, when the board knows when Ciaccio will replace Colucciello as permanent superintendent.
The district has been without a permanent superintendent since former district head James Hoffman resigned in June 2012.
Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel took over part-time until Colucciello was hired in late December 2012.
The school board began a search for a full-time replacement while Michel was at the helm, but suspended it after designating three finalists.
In June 2013, the board of education voted to extend Colucciello's contract for an additional year.