Recently appointed Oneonta City School District Superintendent Joseph Yelich started in his post July 1, school board President Grace Larkin said Monday.
Yelich had stayed on as superintendent at Waverly Central School when the appointment was announced in late June until an interim superintendent could be found, he said.
The search started after Michael Shea retired in 2012, but was delayed by the lack of applicants, Larkin said. “I am really happy it’s done and pleased with the results,” she said.
Retired Edmeston Central School Superintendent David Rowley had been filling the role on an interim basis. Larkin expressed appreciation that Rowley has agreed to help with the transition on his own time.
The starting salary for the three-year contract is $150,000; at Waverly, Yelich was making $136,500.
Yelich said he started his career after graduating SUNY Buffalo in 1982 as a substitute teacher, because “it’s the family business.” His mother and father both had careers in education, and he has two siblings in the field. He started in Waverly in 2011, and was previously principal at Jamestown High School for 12 years.
Yelich and his wife are in the process of moving from their Fredonia home and looking for a house in Oneonta. The couple have two grown children, and one attending State University College at Fredonia.
At Oneonta, Yelich is “just getting started,” he said, adding that he hopes to meet soon with administrators to work with them on their concerns and priorities. Yelich said he aims to support existing programs that promote the “linkages” between students and employees in the region and state, and grow those that are needed to fill any void so that students can look toward the future.
“Graduation is not the finish line but the starting line,” Yelich said.
Yelich began his orientation with a look at the district finances and said he is starting to plan the 2013-14 budget.
“The economy is not getting better. We will need to be careful in managing resources,” he said. This includes staying in touch with with state organizations that advocate for schools.
In the short time he has been here, he has found Oneonta “a great town,” and said he looks forward to continuing to live in a college town.
“People (in Oneonta) are very supportive of school programs,” he said. “It is a town that is built on academics. I am happy to be here.”