Taconic High Principal Vosburgh picked as superintendent for Adams-Cheshire

Vosburgh

CHESHIRE — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District is getting a rookie superintendent.

The school committee Tuesday night agreed to hire Taconic High School Principal John Vosburgh to succeed the retiring Robert Putnam.

Pending successful contract negotiations with the committee, Vosburgh officially would begin July 1, the day after Putnam formally retires.

The seven-member board voted 4-2 — one member was absent — for the Pittsfield Public Schools administrator, but all six agreed that they would support whoever was hired, as he three remaining finalists were well-qualified. A fourth finalist dropped from contention over the weekend.

"What we have here is an embarrassment of riches of who we have to pick," committee member Adam Emerson said.

Vosburgh beat out the two still in the running who had superintendent experience: William Bazyk, the school boss in the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union in Arlington, Vt., and Maria Geryk, who, until 18 months ago, ran the school systems in the Amherst-Pelham area. She has since become director of student services in the Central Berkshire Regional School District.

The committee's decision came down to Vosburgh and Bazyk, with Emerson and Stephen Vigna citing the district's need to have an experienced superintendent.

"We need someone who can hit the ground running," Vigna noted.

Emerson pointed out that Bazyk also has dealt with elementary grade levels and also handled special education director duties in the rural Battenkill Valley district.

The majority didn't view Vosburgh's lack of superintendent experience as a detriment, believing that he would still be a good fit for the pre-K-12 district.

Committee member Peter Tatro noted how Taconic's academic performance improved under Vosburgh's nine years as principal.

"I think he's a rising star," Tatro said. "I think his leadership skills are tops of the three [finalists.]"

"Every superintendent has to start somewhere," added committeewoman Regina Hill.

While Vosburgh knew a zero superintendent background might work against him, he pointed to his teaching and administrative duties at the middle and high school level in Pittsfield Public Schools as a good foundation for moving up the educational career ladder.

"I understand the level each student is at and how to meet the needs of each in the classroom," he told The Eagle in a phone interview after being offered his first superintendency.

Vosburgh realizes he'll have a learning curve regarding the grade school level.

"I have a lot to learn on the elementary side, and that will be my focus going in," he said.

The Adams-Cheshire school board selecting Vosburgh comes 24 hours after the seven-member panel opted against pursuing a shared superintendent with North Adams Public Schools.

The Adams-Cheshire superintendent search process had run parallel to the district and North Adams jointly exploring the possibility of the city's current superintendent, Barbara Malkas, overseeing both pre-K-12 school systems.

A consultant firm prepared a report issued last month outlining the pros and cons of a shared school boss but didn't recommend whether such an arrangement was worth further study.

While each district's school board had concerns about the report, they have agreed to continue talks on other potential shared personnel or services.

The two districts are expected to name subcommittees that would meet to further discuss shared services on a broader scale.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.