Briarcliff Parents Support School Superintendent Change

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Parents and community members said they were happy with the Briarcliff Board of Education's handling of the departure of Superintendent Neal Miller, right.
Parents and community members said they were happy with the Briarcliff Board of Education's handling of the departure of Superintendent Neal Miller, right. Photo Credit: The Briarcliff Daily Voice File Photo

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Many parents of Briarcliff Manor schools said they were happy to hear about the district’s upcoming change in regime after they learned the district’s superintendent will be leaving at the end of the school year.

Following Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller’s “planned departure at the end of June,” Briarcliff High School Principal James Kaishian is set to take over as superintendent in July, according to an emailed letter to the community from school board President Sal Maglietta. The letter notes there was “a significant amount of research and discussion regarding the options available to the board.” There was no search to find the district’s new superintendent and no search is planned, according to the district’s media relations representatives.

After hearing of the news, Briarcliff Parent Teacher Association representatives said they were pleased to hear that Kaishian will take over in July.

“While we were not privy to the details that resulted in this change, we will of course support our new superintendent as we supported our outgoing superintendent," said BPTA co-presidents Nora Johnson and Barbara Hooper in an emailed statement. "The BPTA has worked closely with Mr. Neal Miller during the last 18 months on many topics concerning the parents and teachers of Briarcliff.  We wish him all the best with his future plans as he leaves our district this July.” 

They continued, “We have known Mr. Jim Kaishian for the past 10 years as our children's Middle School Principal, High School Principal and now our district's future superintendent. We are confident that his appointment will be accompanied by a smooth transition to his new role, as well as in the High School when Mrs. Debora French takes over as principal. We congratulate both of them on their new positions and look forward to working together during the upcoming years.”

The pair said they wanted to let parents with concerns know they were willing to listen.

“We would like to extend the BPTA's offer of help to both (Kaishian and French) and Mr. Miller throughout the coming months,” they said in the emailed statement. “The BPTA would be happy to address any concerns or questions that parents have during the time of transition.”

Details of Miller’s separation agreement with the district were not immediately available Thursday but board members said in a previous statement that they would keep residents informed on the transition in future announcements.

Parent Mike Valenti said he was pleased with the announcement and welcomed the change.

“The community all but demanded Jim Kaishian replace (former superintendent) Fran Wills several years ago. The then current (Board of Education) wouldn't have it,” he said. “This BOE has finally rectified the poor leadership decisions of a previous BOE. Jim Kaishian will be a terrific Superintendent. Furthermore, it is what the community wanted from the outset.”

Valenti added that he felt the board’s announcement was appropriate.

“It appears that this situation was handled with the appropriate level of discretion,” he said in an emailed statement. “Transparency is not always an option in Human Resource issues.”

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