By Colin Hogan
Students returned to school last week to kick off the 2015-16 year, which will mark the final term for Superintendent Bill Lynch, who is retiring this coming summer.
“We had a great opening of school last week,” Lynch said. “Everyone was on task and working hard. It was really great to see all the kids come back in ready to start another year. I have a true appreciation of all the parents for all they do to make that first day back a positive experience for everyone.”
This year, Lynch — who has been serving in his position for more than a decade — will turn 62. He said he had planned on retiring at that age for a long time. However, having spent the vast majority of his career in Fulton, he said the transition into retirement is bound to be a bittersweet experience.
“I’ve had such a long connection with the Fulton community. Working in this district and with the families of this community, I feel very privileged to have worked in such a supportive and caring place,” Lynch said.
He began his career as one of the district’s school psychologists in 1980. A few years later, he would do a brief stint in the Batavia school district before returning to Fulton to work for Oswego County BOCES from 1985-1992.
“Even when I worked for BOCES, I was working with the western half of the county and my office was here in the (Fulton) Education Center, so I’ve been here in Fulton for almost all of my career,” Lynch said.
He then served as the principal at Granby Elementary from 1992-1997 before becoming the district’s executive director of instruction and assessment. Then in 2005, after eight years in that position, he was appointed by the Board of Education to take over as superintendent.
As the final year of his career pans out, Lynch said he plans to continue making progress on things like Common Core implementation, the incorporation of technology that supports the curriculum, and staff development — three initiatives he said have been among his priorities in recent years.
He said finances continue to be a challenge for low-wealth communities like Fulton, but the district is still making great strides in getting its students ready for whatever step they may take after graduation, whether it’s higher education, military service or the workforce.
“I certainly plan to do everything I can possibly do to make sure the district is in the greatest shape possible for whoever the board selects (to be the next superintendent),” Lynch said.
Earlier this month, the Board of Education hired a consultant to help guide the district though the process of finding Lynch’s successor. The board also put together a survey it hopes district residents will utilize to offer input for the search.
The survey is currently posted on the district’s website, where it will remain available until Sept. 23. For those without internet access, the board will provide hard copies of the survey at each school’s open house this fall. Board President David Cordone said at least one board member will be present at each open house to hear input and help residents fill out the survey.
“We’re encouraging people to use the online survey, but we do want to include everyone’s input and we know there are some people in the district who might not be able to access the website,” Cordone said. “We felt it was important that we have something for those who don’t have internet access, so those people can attend any open house and we will have a board member present with a paper copy.”
Cordone said the board hopes to announce Lynch’s successor in early 2016. Lynch said he plans to do everything he can to ensure a smooth transition to the new leader. Harkening back the lessons he learned as runner in high school, he said he plans to “end the race 10 yards past the finish line.”