ILION – Central Valley Superintendent Richard Hughes tendered his resignation at Thursday’s regular school board meeting, effective at the close of the school day Dec. 15, officials announced Friday.
The board then appointed Barringer Road Elementary Principal Jeremy Rich to take over as interim superintendent until a replacement is found.
Hughes has accepted a position as superintendent of the Frontier Central School District in Erie County.
“The board of education is pleased that Dr. Hughes has been offered an opportunity to be closer to his family and continue his career in education,” said Board President Kelly Rowland.
She went on to thank Hughes for “his leadership and guidance over his two years as Central Valley superintendent.”
“Through his vision, we have made substantial progress in achieving academic gains,” Rowland said. “We wish him the utmost success as he moves on to the next chapter in his career.”
While the exact timing of his resignation is sudden, Rowland said Hughes notified the board and school staff last spring of his intention to relocate back to Western New York in the near future.
Rich has worked for the Ilion and now Central Valley school districts for more than two decades as both a teacher and principal. Most recently, he has served as principal of Barringer Road Elementary, where he oversaw the school’s successful transition from a pre-K-4 building to a grades 2-4 building.
According to the board’s press release, Rich is known within the Central Valley district “as a leader committed to developing a positive culture that focuses on finding creative solutions to the challenges of preparing students for their futures.”
In March, Rich was named New York State Elementary Principal of the Year for 2017.
“As acting superintendent, I first need to say that I am honored to serve all of you and the special community that we live in,” Rich said in a statement posted on the district’s website. “I don’t want any of us to take the word ‘special’ lightly. My experience over the years living in the valley has taught me that our community cares about people; it cares about our children; and we all want a better tomorrow for our children and will do what it takes to make that happen.”
“In the next few weeks, we will need to band together through the transitions that will occur,” he went on. “Answers will not come quickly enough, but it will not be for a lack of trying. I am a very methodical thinker and will work with my colleagues to transition us as smoothly as possible. Our goal together will always be to find solutions. I am not the Wizard of Oz who is all knowing, nor will I pretend to be. I will use the brains and insight of all who are in the room to solve problems.”
One of his first steps, according to Rich, will be to put someone in place at Barringer Road School and to clearly define the roles of the administrators.
“We are looking forward to the next level of leadership that Mr. Rich can provide our district and community,” Rowland commented. “The relationships that he has developed with our students, staff, and parents is invaluable in bringing our district as well as community together as Central Valley.”
For the time being, Rich has been appointed as acting superintendent and the final determination for a permanent superintendent will be forthcoming, Rowland said.