ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In less than two weeks, students in the Rochester City School District will be starting off a new year with a new leader.
The district announced Dr. Carmine Peluso as the new acting superintendent Wednesday evening. District officials said his name was brought up by the board president and vice president as an option for acting superintendent, and the board voted.
Peluso formerly held the title of deputy superintendent.
The district is not disclosing details about the separation agreement with Dr. Lesli Myers-Small, announced back in July.
But, the board president says they’re working on a seamless transition.
This comes after the Teacher’s Association passed a ‘no confidence’ vote in November and a harassment complaint brought to light against Myers Small around the same time.
Dr. Adam Urbanski, president of the association said he’s confident in Dr. Carmine Peluso stepping in.
“Throughout his career, he was well respected by everybody, and we continue to see he will be well respected,” said Urbanski. “He knows the district he knows what needs to be done.”
Peluso has worked in the district for almost two decades, taught at Edison Tech, served as former principal at School #34 and then Chief of Schools in 2018.
Urbanski said since negotiations with Myers-Small are unresolved, there can’t be two superintendents at once. That’s where the term “acting” comes in.
“I think the job of acting superintendent is whatever he or she decides to make it, there are no prohibitions, they can do whatever needs to be done,” he said.
Urbanski said he would like Peluso to work on addressing teacher shortages, potentially lowering class sizes and addressing social-emotional needs.
Board member James Patterson said he wants Peluso to focus on building and rebuilding relationships.
“The priority is building those relationships, without those relationships nothing else will be successful,” said Patterson.
He mentioned some long-term goals as well: “Elevating graduation rates, college preparedness.”
Patterson said Peluso was not his first pick, but he has faith the decision is for the best.
Patterson said there’s no telling how long the transition to the new superintendent will take, but he’d like to call for a national search.
“Every two years almost we’ve had a new superintendent, so let’s take out time do our due diligence, and bring in the right individual, that’s going to be committed,” he said.
Peluso declined an interview with News 8 on Thursday.