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Kelahan will lead school district

WATKINS GLEN--Gregory Kelahan has been named the school administrator to replace Tom Phillips as superintendent for the Watkins Glen Central School District.
Kelahan is currently the superintendent of the Oriskany Central School District in Oneida County and has held that position since since January, 2010. The Oriskany Central School District, which includes portions of Whitestown, Floyd and Marcy, has an enrollment of approximately 610 students and has 120 instructional and non-school related staff members. The District consists of an elementary school (grades Pre-K-6) and a junior-senior high school (grades 7-12), as well as an administration building.
He began his career as a fifth grade teacher in the Gouverneur school district and a sixth grade teacher and science coordinator at Fayetteville-Manlius school districts. He has been staff and curriculum development specialist in the Madison-Oneida BOCES, an elementary principal and district curriculum leader in the Madison school district and assistant superintendent in Cazenovia.
Kelahan holds degrees from the SUNY Cortland, Syracuse University and SUNY Buffalo.
Last week, Kelahan commented on his Watkins Glen appointment, "I am in my eighth year in Oriskany as superintendent of schools. Just this past year we had a 100 percent high school graduation rate and had the region's highest Regents exam results on four of the 10 tests. All of our graduates the last two years have left high school with at least three college credits (averaging about 17 credits per high school graduate). We also experienced our first state championship basketball team last year. At the same time, we established ourselves as a School of Innovation--partnering with regional business, government, and higher education institutions to extend learning opportunities for our staff and students.
"I see many similarities between Oriskany and Watkins Glen. One of the things that drew me to Watkins Glen is the district's similar commitment to excellence and innovative thinking. Our students are graduating into a highly competitive world that will require exceptional communication and collaboration skills. Our students will need to adapt to evolving technology and will need a well-rounded education that includes exposure to the arts, languages, and diverse cultures. During my conversations with members of the board of education, it became clear that Watkins Glen is committed to such a vision. The development of STEM experiences and securing funds through the SmartBond to support improved instructional technology are evidence of the district's commitment. I am also impressed with the district's and the community's strategic capital project planning. Watkins Glen has managed to balance respect for our past with the need to provide our students with the tools and experiences necessary for future success.
"Upstate communities such as ours are being challenged by diminishing resources as well as directives and incentives to consolidate--both of which challenge our ability to remain unique and vibrant communities. I very much appreciate that Watkins Glen--both the school and the village--has worked hard to capitalize on its strengths so that it remains independent and enticing for future generations.
"My wife and I first became familiar with Watkins Glen many years ago while working summers at a children's residential camp south of Penn Yan. We would bring our campers to Watkins Glen to hike the gorge and enjoy the village for the day. Since then we have made countless trips to the region to enjoy recreational offerings as well as cultural experiences. We fell in love with the region and looked forward to the day when we would be able to become permanent residents. I am honored to be invited to join an outstanding team and look forward to serving the students of Watkins Glen."
The Watkins Glen school board has paired Kelahan's starting dates and titles to tie-in with Phillips' retirement date and then his actual termination date. Phillips has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2017 with his actual ending date as October, 2017. Kelahan will start as deputy superintendent July 1 and then take on the superintendent's title when Phillips completes his tenure in October.

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