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Friday, June 21, 2024

Cotto Granted 3-Year Tenure as Head of Schenectady Schools with Residency Requirement Included in Agreement


SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady City School District Board of Education has chosen Carlos Cotto Jr. ⁢as the district’s new ‍superintendent, a decision that board President Bernice Rivera believes will bring long-term stability‍ to the district.

On a recent​ Wednesday evening, the board finalized a three-year contract with Cotto, who will assume the district’s leadership role once the current ​Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. departs on April 30‌ to take up a similar position with Yonkers Public ‌Schools.

Cotto, who is ‍currently serving as⁣ the district’s⁣ assistant superintendent of innovation, equity and engagement, was an internal selection. His‍ new role comes with an annual salary of $210,000 for ⁢the first year, followed by a 3% ⁣increase for ​the second year. The board will decide on any subsequent raises based⁤ on ⁢Cotto’s performance evaluation.

Cotto’s ‍tenure​ as superintendent will commence on May 1 ‍and is set to continue ‌until June 30, 2027.

Soler, ‌who was hired in July 2021, started with ​an annual⁢ salary⁢ of $215,000 and earned $224,005 ⁤for the‍ 2022-2023 academic year.

After Soler’s‍ two-and-a-half year stint, the board is optimistic that Cotto will⁤ provide a lasting solution to the superintendent’s position.⁣ “We’re making a commitment to each other ⁣and​ the district,” Rivera​ said of Cotto.

Prior to ⁣Soler, the position was held by interim Superintendent ‍Aaron Bochniak, who stepped⁤ in after Superintendent Laurence Spring left in March 2020 after nearly eight years of service.

Cotto’s⁣ contract includes a residency clause, requiring him to become a full-time resident of the district by ⁤Jan. 1, 2026. Currently residing in Niskayuna, Cotto has expressed his intention to relocate to the Schenectady district soon.

During his tenure, Soler ⁢resided in Clifton Park.

“We mutually agreed on it because Dr. Cotto is very excited to become ⁣a resident of ⁤Schenectady and we knew for‌ the community that it is important, and it was also important for the board and Dr.⁢ Cotto,” Rivera said. “So that is going to be part ⁣of the contract.”

The contract⁣ also ‌includes a one-time stipend of $2,000 to cover Cotto’s relocation expenses.

Cotto expressed his commitment to ⁣serve as Schenectady superintendent for the long term. “I feel like I’m⁢ home,” he said. “When I’m ​in those [community] spaces, ‍I’m welcomed ‌and‍ I’m always looking for ways to connect back to ⁤our schools and back‌ to our families. ⁢There’s an ‍intentionality, because if we ⁢can meet our‍ families where they ⁢are and provide them access back to the supports that are available in our community, then we better prepare them to‍ support their‌ children and‌ their overall livelihood as ⁣well.”

The ‌district initiated an online ⁢community⁣ survey on⁤ Jan. 30, seeking residents’ input on what they would like the new superintendent to focus on in their first 100 days.

Cotto plans ⁤to use the community feedback to⁤ shape his strategies ‍for ​the district. The survey revealed that the community would like ⁣the ⁤new superintendent to continue the initiatives started by the Soler ​administration.

“I will look to dive into that to‍ get a real sense of what⁢ those voices were really sharing‍ with their concerns and what they’re looking for,” Cotto said. “The next four months I’m⁢ going to go‌ deeper into really‌ getting into spaces where we⁤ need to‍ be. Whenever​ we do listening tours, we’re really reaching those who aren’t⁣ at the table.”

Cotto’s ‌unanimously approved contract includes health and⁤ dental insurance. It also requires ‌Cotto to meet with an external mentor ⁢after Soler leaves the district. ‍The contract stipulates that Cotto should meet‌ with a mentor at least ⁢twice ‍a ⁤month from May 2024 to June ‌2025. The mentor, who will be identified by May 1, will receive a maximum annual payment of $10,000.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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  1. Agree – This is a positive step towards ensuring a leader who is committed to the community and invested in the success of the schools.

  2. Good punctuation and grammar, Agree – This is a positive development for the school district and will help ensure accountability and a stronger connection between the leader and the community.


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