FONDA - More than a year after its elementary school principal went on medical leave, the Fonda-Fultonville Board of Education has appointed her replacement.
Thomas Ciaccio, 41, of Gloversville was approved by the school board Monday for a three-year probationary period at a salary of $85,000 annually.
He has been the administrative coordinator for special education at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services for the last 2 1/2 years. He'll assume his new role Jan. 21.
Ciaccio will replace Alicia Henry, who had been principal since 2002. She spent the last year on a paid leave of absence before resigning in October and receiving a nearly $250,000 payout. The district gave no reason for the leave of absence.
At BOCES, Ciaccio oversees middle school and high school special education. Previously, he was a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Broadalbin-Perth and Gloversville schools. He coached the Gloversville High School football team. In the 1980s, he was a standout Gloversville football player.
Before teaching, Ciaccio was an elementary school social worker.
About five years ago, Ciaccio decided to get an administrative degree.
"Throughout my process at Saint Rose, I really felt that my strengths and interests lied with being an elementary principal," Ciaccio said. "When the opening became available at Fonda-Fultonville, I was very excited to see if I could make that a reality."
Ciaccio has a master of science degree in elementary education from the Sage College Graduate School and earned an administrative certificate in school administration from the College of Saint Rose. He is an honors award recipient from Saint Rose's New Era School Leadership program.
Ciaccio was one of 10 candidates interviewed for the job. Finalists interviewed with five school subgroups: school administrators, teachers, district parents, support staff and the Board of Education.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to know the staff and students," Ciaccio said. "With all the challenges the state is putting toward schools, expectations and accountability has increased, and I look forward to working with the staff to reach those new higher expectations."
Ciaccio noted Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School was one of 315 schools nationwide to receive the 2009 National Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education.
Superintendent James Hoffman said it was important to make an appointment before the winter break because interim Principal Constance Spohn was only available through the early part of January.
"Considering all the time that we went without a full-time principal, I really wanted to expedite this," Hoffman said. "He [Ciaccio] had a combination of experience, leadership skills, curriculum knowledge and personality, and it seemed to stand out."
Hoffman said the district hopes to schedule a "meet the principal" night sometime in January.
Amanda Whistle can be reached at email@example.com.