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Friday, June 21, 2024

Cotto Jr. named as the upcoming Superintendent for Schenectady

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SCHENECTADY — In‌ a⁢ move that prioritizes consistency‌ and stability, ⁢the Schenectady ‌City School District has announced Dr. Carlos ⁢Cotto Jr. as the new superintendent, effective from ‌May 1.

Dr. Cotto, who previously held the position of assistant superintendent of innovation, ⁢equity, and engagement, will succeed the outgoing ⁣Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. Soler is set‍ to leave the district on April 30 to take up the superintendent’s role at Yonkers City Schools.

“I am ⁣deeply committed to this work and to ⁤our community,” Cotto expressed on Wednesday.​ “Together,​ we will continue to strengthen our ⁢schools and communities. As we embark on ​this‍ journey, I am guided by a profound belief in the ‌transformative power of education.”

At the announcement event held at the district’s new community engagement center ⁤on Liberty Street, Board‍ of Education President Bernice Rivera praised Cotto as the perfect​ successor‍ to Soler, who‌ had hired Cotto in ‌September 2021.

“Dr. Cotto has consistently demonstrated his genuine dedication to our students, families, staff, and community,” Rivera said. “He has an incredible drive to nurture⁤ relationships and understands the ⁢critical nature of ‌this work and the⁣ challenges that lie ahead.”

The school board ⁤decided to conduct an internal superintendent search​ after internal‍ discussions and gathering⁢ community feedback. Rivera revealed that the school board had discussions with all 11 members of Soler’s leadership‌ team before ‌deciding⁤ to appoint Cotto.

Soler was hired in July 2021 after a 14-month search and promptly brought in Cotto, who was then serving as the principal ‍of Enrico Fermi School No. ⁤17​ in the Rochester City School District.

In his previous role with the Schenectady school district, Cotto ⁤managed the district’s athletic ‌programs and supervised the adult and continuing education programs.

Upon learning ‍of Soler’s departure, ⁣Cotto, 49, knew he wanted the superintendent’s post. “My aspirations have always been to lead,” he‌ said.​ “I’ve played a key​ role in many of the initiatives here and I’m a leader of purpose. I ‌see the potential ​of these opportunities for our children and‍ I’m eager to see them through.”

The terms of Cotto’s contract ⁣will‌ be disclosed after his appointment is‍ confirmed by the board of education‌ during its meeting on Wednesday evening.

When asked about his long-term⁤ plans, Cotto expressed his ​desire to serve in the superintendent role ⁤for an extended period. “He will be,” Rivera⁣ confirmed, to applause at the Wednesday event.

Last spring, district‍ voters approved a⁢ $300 million capital project to fund infrastructure improvements across the district through 2030. Cotto is now tasked with ⁤overseeing this project to completion.

“We’ve been meeting ⁣frequently to ensure ‌that the first phase is progressing as planned,” Cotto said. “We’ll continue to engage and gather community feedback. There may‌ be⁣ some minor adjustments, but no major changes.”

In a public survey‌ posted​ on the​ district website in January, residents indicated that they wanted an internal candidate who would continue the work of Soler’s administration. “I’m going to do a lot of listening and learning,” Cotto said of his priorities for his first 100 days in office.

The‍ district also received community responses reflecting a desire for the new Schenectady superintendent to reside in ​the district. Cotto, who currently does not live in ⁤Schenectady, confirmed that he plans to move ‌to the district soon.

“Dr. Cotto’s leadership and dedication, particularly in advancing equity and community engagement, is commendable,” Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, said in ‌a statement. “His‌ commitment to professional development and proven ability to foster collaboration within and beyond the district will undoubtedly benefit Schenectady’s ⁤students and community.”

Following the school board’s⁢ Feb. 28 meeting, Soler assured that he would not take any members of his administration with him to the Yonkers district, as he did not want to disrupt the Schenectady district. ‍Soler submitted his resignation to the district on Jan. 10 and will assume ​the top job in Yonkers on May 1.

Cotto‍ revealed that he did​ not consider joining Soler in Yonkers when he⁢ learned that Soler was leaving Schenectady, instead opting to pursue a leadership position in the district.

Soler, who was not​ involved in the interview process to find his replacement, said on Wednesday that he believed the school board made a wise choice in hiring Cotto.

“To hear him come up is validating because of ​the work he’s done over⁢ the ⁢last couple of years,” Soler said of Cotto. “He took a risk in joining me a couple of‌ years ago and jumping​ in on my vision and to know he’s the one ‍who’s going to take over once ⁤I ⁣exit,‌ feels good because I know his values are aligned to my ‍values. I‍ believe that he’ll continue the work that we’ve started and he’ll look to add his touch to it.”

Cotto said that he looks forward to working closely with ⁤Soler in the next two months as⁢ he learns the inner workings of the superintendent’s office before Soler’s departure.

“We’re working hand-in-hand​ together,” Cotto said on⁣ Wednesday. “I’m‍ going to seek insight ​into where we are with particular​ projects ‌and then really connect with those individuals who are⁤ leading those projects. Because ⁤I’m a different leader, so just‍ trying to​ get a better sense of, ‘Is it going well and‍ what⁤ are ​some things that we can do better?’”

Soler praised Cotto’s unique strengths as ​an administrator. “His ability to engage, listen, and make thoughtful decisions, as well as his ability to ⁤build relationships, are qualities that are not ‍easily found,” Soler ⁢said ⁤of‍ Cotto’s leadership qualities.

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Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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3 COMMENTS

  1. Cotto jr named as the upcoming superintendent for schenectady.
    Disagree – Concerned about lack of experience in this role.

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