PAINTED POST | The next Corning-Painted Post Superintendent said she plans to continue “the successful legacy of Mike Ginalski and the Board by leaving my own mark on this exceptional district - leading us into the next decade of opportunity.”

Michelle Caulfield, currently assistant superintendent for secondary education at the district, will replace Ginalski after his departure in June 2020.

The board plans to appoint Caulfield to the position at their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, with a three-year contract starting at an annual salary of $188,000.

Caulfield told The Leader there are three key things district residents should know about her, beyond her resume.

“I care about student success,” she said. “There are many paths to this and it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for all.

“I believe in our people. Our teachers and staff make a difference every day in the lives of all of our students.

“I am passionate about our community. We have worked diligently over time to build a strong community relationship and that relationship will always be a priority of mine which will be maintained through open communication and dialogue.”

Caulfield’s initial contract will run July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.

She has already been with the district approximately 20 years, starting as an English teacher at West High School in 2000, and becoming assistant principal at East High in 2006 where she was one of the key coordinators of the high school merger.

She was named the district’s Director of Secondary Education in 2011, a position that became an assistant superintendent role in 2016. Her background is in English education and Special Education, and she is certified as a school district administrator in both New York and Pennsylvania.

School Board President Dr. Dale Wexell said the board considered the appointment of Caulfield a year before Ginalski steps down a key to its strategy going forward.

“This will provide a unique mentoring experience for Ms. Caulfield that will generate a seamless transition of leadership from Mr. Ginalski to Ms. Caulfield at that time [in July 2020],” Wexell said.

He noted that Caulfield has been deeply involved in key planning and decisions for a long time.

“She has participated in every planning session associated with our most challenging issues and initiatives, including our first successful facilities plan of nine years ago,” Wexell said. “The community can be confident of her understanding of how a budget is developed, where the money is, and strategies to control spending.”

According to Wexell, Ginalski informed the board of his interest in retiring about a year ago, allowing plenty of time for discussions and planning to find a replacement.

Although the board began putting in place the machinery for a large-scale search for a new superintendent, it ended that process when it looked at internal options and interest quickly focused on Caulfield.

Wexell noted that an external search process could have involved significant costs. He also said the board's decision to appoint Caulfield was unanimous.

The process of selecting Caulfield and putting together a contract, because it involved a hiring decision, confidential information about a current employee, and a contract negotiation, took place entirely in non-public executive sessions of the school board, Wexell noted. Each of those issues is an allowable exemption from state Open Meetings Law.

“This appointment ‘seems’ to come out of the blue because the only real steps involved reviewing candidates' records and performance in Executive Session,” Wexell said.