Sept. 11: Superintendent's Message

Sept. 11: Superintendent's Message
Dear Staff, Parents and Families,

This Friday update begins with what this date means to our country, and remembering the lives lost on 9/11. It is a date in our history that many of us recall the exact moment when time stood still. Today I made the time to pause and reflect on the victims, their families, and of course, the heroes who responded. I hope you do as well.

I can certainly understand our families are expecting updates on Mr. Steven Lysenko and the status of his administrative leave. Mr. Lysenko is a tenured administrator. This means he is not an employee at-will. Rather, NYS Education Law provides all tenured educators in NYS rights, including the right to due process and confidentiality. That reality places all of us - you included - in an incredibly difficult position.

I will share with you that this has been on my mind, 24/7. I think about what students, staff and parents must be going through – first with the complexities around the reopening of school and now with our district being placed in the national spotlight with polarizing opinions flooding our community.

Please know you are all at the forefront of my thoughts and decisions for this district. Our Board of Education, leadership team, faculty and staff understand our responsibility is to the students, and that focus and mission will always remain as our guide. I have walked through our school hallways this week, welcoming back our teachers and staff, and am so humbled by the outpouring of support and willingness to do whatever it takes for our students.

Our students’ safety and well-being comes first. For the past few years, we have worked really hard on Culturally Responsive Education, diversity, equity, and social justice. We are committed to continuing this work now more than ever. We know we need to do better. Our goal is to lead systemic change both from within and around our learning community. We will start by organizing restorative conversations and opportunities in the coming days and weeks. We will communicate more on this once details become available.

Earlier this week, we made a statement, in which we appealed to our community to respect differences among us, while always remembering we are all still friends and neighbors. These are difficult times, but we are a close-knit community. We will get through this together.

Dan Milgate
Superintendent of Schools