BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Dr. Christopher Manno made his introduction to Bedford Central community members on Wednesday after the school board voted unanimously to appoint him as the district's next superintendent.
“Melissa and I are so honored and grateful to be here this evening, and look forward to becoming part of the Bedford Central school community," he said.
Manno is a veteran New Jersey educator who serves as superintendent of both the Burlington County Special Services School District and the Burlington County Institute of Technology , which he has has done since 2013. For eight years prior to that , he served superintendent in Burlington Township School District. In 2013, he was named New Jersey's Superintendent of the Year.
Manno praised the academic and extra-curricular choices that Bedford Central gives to its students.
“The programs and opportunities that the children of the Bedford Central School District are availed are simply unparallelled and I am excited to be a part of that.”
Manno's tenure as Bedford Central's superintendent, which was approved by the board in a 6-0 vote, begins on July 1 and will run until June 30, 2019. He will be paid an annual salary of $262,000 and will be carrying over his existing health insurance, school board President Jennifer Gerken said.
Board member Brian Sheerin was absent, it was noted, due to a family related situation. However, he backed the selection of Manno with his colleagues in a unanimous email sent out to the community last week.
The incoming superintendent was selected following a nationwide search that yielded roughly 40 candidates, Gerken stated. The board president added that Manno was selected from among five finalists and was subject to background and social-media checks.
“In Dr. Manno, we have found that he is extremely kid-focused," Gerken said in her introductory remarks. "He's a leader in curriculum, achievement, special education and technology. He's highly experienced navigating fiscal and organizational challenges, highly ethical, a problem solver, a community and a team builder, and a teacher's teacher, and we feel very fortunate to have him here with us today.”
Gerken also praised community members, staff and students for assisting the school board with the superintendent search.
“Really, the board took to heart what you said, and your wish really - quite literally - was our command.”
Manno was joined at the board meeting with his wife, Melissa, who he credited for his professional success.
Seeking to learn more about the district, Manno noted that he binge-watched roughly three years of school board meetings and read through countless local-news stories. From his research, Manno learned about Bedford Central's budgetary woes; officials are contemplating whether to ask voters for an override of the state-mandated tax-levy cap during next month's budgetary vote in order to avoid deep cuts. At the same time, Manno noted that he learned the community is involved in the process and willing to offer input. Finally, Manno said that he learned the students “are simply outstanding.”
“They excel by any measure in the classroom, on the field, on the stage, in academic-competition arenas.”
Manno added that he will spend his first few months as superintendent learning and listening from people in the community.
The incoming superintendent replaces Jere Hochman, who served in the top administrative role for seven years before leaving in November to become a deputy state education commissioner. John Chambers, a retired administrator, has been serving as interim superintendent since then.
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