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New superintendent ready to take the helm

June 16, 2016 -- In the nearly six months since Michelle Brantner agreed to become the district’s next top administrator, no grass has grown beneath her feet.

While continuing as superintendent of schools for Moravia Central Schools, Ms. Brantner immersed herself in all things Marcellus by: meeting weekly with Interim Superintendent Judith Pastel; paying three visits to campus for one-on-one discussions with administrators and Board members; and buying and moving into a new home here.

She even stopped by to watch volunteers build the new playground at K.C. Heffernan Elementary last month.

“It’s great. We’re very, very happy here, and the neighbors are all lovely,” Ms. Brantner said. “And the vibe in the schools has been joy and happiness. Marcellus has a fine reputation, and the data I’ve collected so far bears that out.”

After she officially takes the lead on July 1, Ms. Brantner said her No 1. goal will be getting to know the district and community by listening to all perspectives and gathering information. At the same time, she’ll be working to smoothly take the baton from Dr. Pastel, who this year prioritized improvements in the areas of curriculum development and alignment, data-driven instruction, professional development and more.

She now also faces the challenge of helping the district navigate through its capital project, which hit a snag in May when construction bids came in higher than
expected—a familiar scenario for her.

“When I started in Moravia 7 years ago I walked into the almost identical situation. It was eerie. I wondered if it was me,” she said.

Although she understands that many are disheartened to feel the project temporarily lose its momentum, she also sees a silver lining to the setback: “The added time will help us on the planning side. The most important thing is to have the right end product for the kids.”

Before moving into the top job at Moravia, a rural district in the Finger Lakes region with a student enrollment of 987, Mrs. Brantner served as a high school principal in Lansing for seven years. Before that, she was an assistant high school principal in Newark, New York. She began her career in education in 1991 as a Spanish teacher in the Norwood-Norfolk School District.

A career in education was not a foregone conclusion for Ms. Brantner, who says she was not one of those who transformed her girlhood bedroom into a classroom so she could teach her dolls.  Her plan was to become a psychologist.  But the early course requirements in college involved a lot of experimentation on lab rats, and she began to quickly formulate Plan B.

“I always loved kids, and I had an affinity for Spanish,” she said. “The decision was subtle and easy.”

Spanish teacher, it was. She changed her major to secondary education, kept psychology as a minor and never looked back.

Her continuing ability to think like a teacher has made her a stronger administrator, she said, because she understands the perspective of those she’s leading, even if they can’t understand hers.

“I tell teachers, ‘I can’t give you this perspective. But I’ve known yours, and I need you to trust that I’ll honor yours with my decisions.’” 

Michelle Brantner appointed superintendent of schools

The Marcellus Board of Education voted unanimously Jan. 11 to appoint Michelle Brantner as the next superintendent of schools for the district, effective July 1, 2016.

Mrs. Brantner is currently the superintendent for Moravia Central Schools in Cayuga County.

After the vote, board members paused the meeting for a reception during which dozens of community and staff members welcomed Mrs. Brantner, while administrators served cake and punch. Board President Ryan Riefler and Vice President John Fuller also presented Mrs. Brantner with her first green Marcellus hoodie.

“I will love the children of this district as my own,” Mrs. Brantner said. “I will care for each of you, listen to you, lift you up, challenge you, encourage you and find the way to make it possible for you to do your best work as a parent, community member, board member, bus driver, cleaner, secretary, teacher, administrator or any other job I forgot.”

Read the complete story.


Board of Education to appoint next superintendent Jan. 11

The Marcellus Central School District Board of Education plans to appoint Michelle Brantner as the district’s next permanent superintendent during its Jan. 11 regular board meeting.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. and be held in the auditorium of Marcellus High School, 1 Mustang Hill, Marcellus. After the board votes on the appointment, which will take place shortly after the meeting starts, there will be a welcome reception for Mrs. Brantner with refreshments. The board then will relocate to the Learning Commons to continue its regular meeting business.

Mrs. Brantner is currently the Moravia Central School District superintendent, a position she has held since 2009. She is expected to begin July 1 in Marcellus. She replaces Dr. Judith Pastel, who stepped in as interim superintendent for the 2015-16 school year after Dr. Craig Tice accepted the top administrative post at Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District in July 2015.

“I’m incredibly excited to be moving to Marcellus Central Schools,” Mrs. Brantner said. “I think it’s a wonderful community, and I think the board members have shown themselves to be impressive representatives of the district. I can’t wait to start this next chapter of Marcellus history.”

Read the complete story.


District receives 21 applications for superintendent position

At the Board of Education’s Nov. 2 meeting, board President Ryan Riefler reported the district had received 21 applications for the top administrative post by the Oct. 30 deadline. The BOE will meet Nov. 9 in executive session to review the submissions and plan next steps in the hiring process.


Search brochure completed

Board of Education members at their Sept. 21 meeting formally established the characteristics they will look for in the district's next top administrator. Those traits – gleaned from interviews with faculty and staff, an online survey and two public forums held last month – now appear in a brochure that was produced by search consultant Lucy Martin of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.

Click here to view the brochure.

Dr. Martin will next meet with BOE members in executive session on Nov. 9, to review the candidates and select the semi-finalists for first-round interviews. 


BOE invites community to superintendent search forums

photo of man looking through binocularsCurious how the search for the next permanent superintendent of schools is going? Have some firm ideas about what sets this school district apart and what challenges we’ll face in the next three to five years? The Marcellus Board of Education wants to hear from you and has scheduled two parent/community forums for just that purpose.

During the forums – set for 7 p.m. Sept. 9 and 10 in the Driver Middle School auditorium – search consultant Dr. Lucy Martin will provide information about the search process and solicit feedback from those attending about what characteristics they’d like to see in Marcellus’ next top administrator. Information gleaned during the forums will become part of a report for the Board of Education, which then will review it and create a “leadership profile” to help recruit and identify candidates throughout the search.

Read the full story.


Board of Education requests input on superintendent search

The Marcellus Board of Education is beginning the process of searching for a new superintendent, and one of the first steps in that process is to seek input on the desired characteristics and skills that district stakeholders would like to see in the next district leader.
The search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates is assisting the Board with the search and has developed a survey to gather feedback on which characteristics are most important for Marcellus Central Schools.

Read the full story.


Board of Education appoints interim superintendent

The Marcellus Board of Education on May 26 voted unanimously to appoint Judith “Judy” Pastel as the district’s interim superintendent, effective July 1. Dr. Pastel will serve as the district’s top administrator until a permanent replacement has been named or June 30, 2016, whichever comes first.

Dr. Pastel replaces Superintendent of Schools Craig Tice, who will leave Marcellus next month to take the helm at Fayetteville-Manlius Central Schools.

The former Ithaca City Schools superintendent for more than 15 years, Dr. Pastel retired in 2010 with more than 40 years of experience in education. Since retirement, she has stepped in as interim superintendent in Trumansburg (2012) and Skaneateles (2012-14) and is now wrapping up a stint as assistant superintendent of human resources in Brockport.

"We are excited to welcome Dr. Pastel into our district,” Marcellus Board President Ryan Riefler said. “As we begin the important task of identifying the next superintendent of schools for the Marcellus district, it is important to have strong leadership. Dr. Pastel’s experience and wealth of knowledge will serve us well over the course of this next school year."

Read the full story.

Consultant hired to conduct interim superintendent search

At its May 4 meeting, the Marcellus Central School District Board of Education appointed Dr. Lucy Martin from Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to conduct a search for an interim superintendent for the district. The interim superintendent will take over July 1 from Dr. Craig Tice, who last month announced he has accepted the top spot at Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District.

The interim will serve while the district searches for a permanent replacement.


Superintendent to leave Marcellus to take helm at Fayetteville-Manlius

After 11 years at Marcellus Central Schools, Dr. Craig J. Tice announced Monday he will resign his post at the end of this school year to take over from retiring Fayetteville-Manlius Superintendent Dr. Corliss Kaiser.
The F-M Board of Education voted unanimously Monday evening to appoint Dr. Tice as the district’s next superintendent, effective July 1. Dr. Tice notified Marcellus board members and administrators of his decision earlier Monday.
He has served as the district’s top administrator since 2006. He also served two years as the Marcellus assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
“It goes without saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed my 11 years of service to the Marcellus Central School District,” Dr. Tice said. “While the duties, responsibilities and projects have been enriching, it has been the relationships and friendships that I built over the years in working with the students, their families and my fellow employees that have been the most meaningful and rewarding.”

Read the full story.

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