Retiring VCSD Superintendent Brian Hunt leaving earlier than expected

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Voorheesville Superintendent Brian Hunt was slated for retirement at the end of this school year. On Friday, it was announced that Hunt will be taking a medical leave of absence beginning on June 1.

VOORHEESVILLE — Voorheesville Superintendent Brian Hunt will take medical leave starting June 1, until his previously-announced retirement at the end of the school year on June 30, the school district announced on Friday.

Mark Doody, who had worked as superintendent of the Hudson Falls Central School District as well as in a number of interim positions since his retirement from Hudson Falls in 2015, will take over for Hunt on an interim basis on Monday.

Doody’s per diem rate is $700; he receives no benefits and is paid only for the days he works, according to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services through which he was hired.

Hunt’s announcement comes as the school district is in the midst of finding his replacement. In April, Anita Murphy, the district superintendent of Capital Region BOCES, told The Enterprise that Voorheesville had received 19 “certified and qualified” candidates for Hunt’s job, which is a “good number in a search.”

Hunt would not specify the reason for his medical leave.

Hunt has served as Voorheesville’s superintendent for the past four years.

“He’s been an amazing leader,” said Jessica Tabakian who, as Hunt’s secretary and as district clerk, interacted with Hunt more than any other district employee during his four-year tenure. “I think he did a wonderful job … And I’m sad to see him go.”

Outgoing school-board President Doreen Saia said in a statement: “In his four years with us in Voorheesville, Superintendent Hunt has developed a comprehensive capital plan and expanded opportunities for all of our students. Through the development of a number of initiatives, such as the Project Lead the Way program, the expansion of career and technical education opportunities and the alignment of the curriculum in the elementary school, Mr. Hunt has served our school district well.  We wish him and his wife, Deb, all the best.”

The early part of Hunt’s career was spent as a high-school social-studies teacher at Voorheesville and Duanesburg, he told The Enterprise when, in January, he announced his retirement. He made the transition to administration about 18 years ago and spent time as an elementary-school  principal in the Mohonasen and Schalmont school districts, before taking his first superintendent job in the Edmeston Central School District in Otsego County, and returning to Voorheesville four years ago.

Absent a prescription-drug plan mess that was sprung on the district in March, Hunt is leaving Voorheesville in a strong position.  

In October 2018, The Enterprise reported that Voorheesville students in grades three through eight who had taken the state’s required tests the previous spring, had the highest proficiency rate in both math and English across the four counties and 41 school districts of the Capital Region.

On Friday, asked about the highlights of his four-year tenure, Hunt pointed to helping further the district’s already “excellent academic program” as well as passing the upcoming capital project “that will take care of” much-needed “repairs and upgrades.”

But Hunt maintained that something had to be done about the district’s prescription-drug program because, he said, “That’s eating us alive.”

As for his interim replacement, Hunt said that he knew only Doody by reputation and said that he was “very well respected.”

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