School Board votes to extend Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra’s contract

At the May 28 Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education  voted to  extend the contract of Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. through May 2024.

The vote was 7-0 in favor of the agreement. Prior to the vote, each Board members said they believe that Dr. Tangorra is the right person to lead the district in this moment and the years ahead.

Board of Education President Jack Calareso said that as Board members deliberated over the extension, they prioritized stability in leadership, a strong focus on students, a forward-looking academic program and stewardship of the district’s capital assets and taxpayer dollars.

“Stability in the role of our chief executive officer is critical as we plan a major capital project and focus on providing a top-quality academic program in a changing world,” Calareso said. “Dr. Tangorra provides strong and focused leadership, and, on behalf of the Board, I am pleased that we are positioned to have a long-term commitment from someone of his caliber and experience to lead our district.”

Under the contract extension, Dr. Tangorra’s salary will be $197,300 in 2019-20. The agreement calls for increases of 2 percent and 2.25 percent over the subsequent years.

Dr. Tangorra has more than a decade and a half of experience as a school superintendent. He also previously served as the state’s deputy commissioner for P12 education. He came to the district in 2015.

Board members noted that during his first year in Niskayuna, Dr. Tangorra led the development of the district’s strategic plan, which focuses academic programs, school environment and culture, and partnerships. He has continued the process of building the school budget from scratch and the average annual tax levy increase for the budgets he has overseen is less than 1.9 percent while adding instructional and support staff. Additionally, he has settled multi-year contracts with four of the five faculty and staff bargaining units, and negotiations with the fifth are ongoing.

As part of implementing the strategic plan, Dr. Tangorra has led advisory groups that have included representatives of all segments of the school community.

“Every member of the district governance team, made up of the Board and the administration, recognizes the importance of listening and collaborating with all stakeholders as we make plans for the future,” said Board Vice President Brian Backus. “Dr. Tangorra’s leadership will help us maintain a strong focus on students, investing in our faculty and staff, paying diligent attention to our facilities and the need to run an effective and efficient organization. We look forward to our continued work with him.”

*Note: This post originally identified the median salary for a superintendent in the region as $215,000, citing a recent article in The Daily Gazette. It was later clarified that this amount referred to overall salary and benefits.