SKANEATELES | After a report earlier in the week that he was among 20 applicants for the superintendency of Buffalo Public Schools, Skaneateles Central School District Superintendent Ken Slentz said he will no longer pursue that position.
The decision not to move forward in that application process and instead remain in the district he has served for one full school year involves his commitment to the community of Skaneateles and his wife and daughter, who will be a Skaneateles High School junior next year.
“This is a fantastic district with an incredibly supportive board and community, and I truly enjoy the work that we have collectively engaged in," Slentz said in a news release. "I look forward to focusing on great things for all of our students.”
Slentz confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he applied for the superintendency of Buffalo Public Schools, a district served in the last year by an interim leader, Donald A. Ogilvie.
As a former deputy commissioner in the state Education Department in Albany, Slentz was familiar with the Buffalo district when he provided advisory services for its many constituents and assisted that district with its superintendent search when he realized he was interested.
In the release circulated Thursday night, Slentz said he "cares deeply about the problems confronting" the Buffalo district and its 40,000 students and continues to have conversations with people close to the district as they look for a leader capable of navigating the challenges.
He noted in the release that he is troubled by the "bifurcated system" of public education in which some districts, such as Skaneateles, can give students every advantage, while others, such as Buffalo, struggle to provide for disadvantaged children.
“The question still remains — what do we do for our neediest kids? How do we collectively figure that out?” he said in the release.
Slentz said he regrets that the school community went through an intense week after knowledge of his application to Buffalo became public, but he acknowledged the moment provided some clarity for him.
To that, he said in the release he can help push a regional, state-wide and national conversation on "the importance of not losing sight of the underdog students in any district" while remaining as Skaneateles' top administrator.
“We can still from Skaneateles redefine what high quality education is for every student,” Slentz said. “We need to advantage all of our kids.”