Outgoing Canton superintendent says public schools are being asked to shoulder more responsibilities
By MATT LINDSEY
CANTON -- Public schools are being asked to shoulder many more responsibilities than 10 years ago, says soon-to-retire Canton Central School Superintendent William “Bill” Gregory.
“The greatest change in my view is the tremendous increase in expectations placed on our public schools,” said Gregory, who plans to retire July 31.Today, schools are often being asked to respond to many students’ needs beyond academics, such as mental health issues and emotional needs.
“Beyond the primary educational mission, schools have become increasingly viewed as the panacea for coming to grips with and remedying all societal ills,” Gregory said. “Schools are simply not designed or resourced to do so.”
Atop the list of his greatest accomplishments, Gregory said, was maintaining quality educational programs during tough financial times.
Gregory took over when schools were facing massive cuts following a recession that hit the entire country hard.
“I am proud that, despite significant fiscal challenges and deep staffing cuts we faced for several years as a consequence of the state's financial woes, our school was still able to deliver a quality, comprehensive educational program for our students and retain its reputation as one of the highest performing districts in the North Country,” Gregory said.
Even during the recession, taxpayers supported needed upgrades to various buildings and grounds at CCS, he said.
“I am also thankful to the people of our community for its support of our school in general, and in particular for their approval of several extensive capital projects that have dramatically improved our school's infrastructure, from the boiler system to our athletic fields, and a multitude of things in between,” he said.
Gregory was appointed superintendent of Canton Central Jan. 2, 2008.
“I accepted the position following a request from the Board of Education to move from high school principal to superintendent,” he said.
Prior to his appointment as superintendent, his assignments included nearly six years as Canton High School principal and one year as Dean of Students for the Colton-Pierrepont School District.
Preceding his career in public school administration, he served for 23 years as an active duty Army officer, which included teaching assignments at Clarkson University and North Carolina State University, and three years as a high school band director.
Gregory wanted to thank the colleagues that he has worked with over his career.
“It has been my distinct pleasure to work with our Board of Education, our faculty and staff, our students, and our larger educational community in our efforts to collectively provide the children in our charge with the best educational experience possible,” the superintendent said.
Even though he is retiring from his superintendent position, Gregory plans to continue working in the education field.
“I would like to do some adjunct teaching at the post-secondary level and also work with student teachers in an advisory capacity,” he said.