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Rochester School Supt. Terry Dade tapped by downstate district

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Terry Dade has been selected to serve as superintendent for the Rochester City School District. He currently is an assistant superintendent for the 180,000-student Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Virginia.

Just a day after he let it be known he was unhappy with his situation in the Rochester City School District, it appears Superintendent Terry Dade has a new job.

The website of the Cornwall Central School District in Orange County, in downstate New York, says that Dade has been chosen as the next superintendent. That district calls Dade “an accomplished and dedicated educational leader with over twenty years of progressive experience teaching children and leading adults in rural, suburban and urban settings.”

The statement from the Cornwall School Board says it was looking for someone with exceptional communication skills, can lead by example and have a strong knowledge of curriculum and instruction, while also being fiscally savvy.

Cornwall says Dade will begin working there in July.

On Wednesday, Dade spoke to WXXI News and other media, indicating his attorney was talking with the school board about getting out of his three year contract. He just began his job in Rochester last July, but has been grappling with massive budget problems including an unexpected deficit.

He said this week that  his relationship with the school board has been strained at best, and he said that lack of support is largely behind his decision.

“The way a good district operates is we unify as leaders to identify what the problem is and then to collaboratively come up with solutions, and unfortunately, that has not occurred,” Dade told WXXI News on Wednesday.

Dade says the school board has not been supportive, and he has had to shoulder the burden of making the budget balance.

Members of an administrators’ union in the Rochester City School District rallied outside Central Office on Thursday, asking Dade to reconsider.

On Thursday afternoon, Dade told them that his “decision isn’t final yet” and he “still has prayer and reflection to do.”

Cornwall school board records posted on its website show that the agreement to employ Dade was signed Thursday and that it is effective July 24 and runs through July 23, 2023. An undated memo from the board's president, Nancy Bryan, updating the school community on the search for a new superintendent and posted on the district's website read that the school board had selected the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education to assist with the search.

The Rochester School Board released this statement on Friday:

Much to our surprise, we learned yesterday from the media that Superintendent Terry Dade accepted another position.  Please understand that your Board of Education’s commitment to our students, staff, and community remains steadfast.

Going forward, our first priority is to recommend a budget to the Rochester City Council that best addresses our fiscal circumstances with a focus on the best educational opportunities for our children.  At the same time, we are focused on the future leadership of the District and its stability as we look forward to our reopening for regular instruction. We are confident that the strength of our community, together with our commitment, will see us through the challenges currently facing us.

In closing, we wish to thank the many people who have worked so hard during this pandemic to ensure the health and safety of the entire Rochester Community, and particularly the students and parents of the District. 

With reporting from CITY Newspaper, a media partner of WXXI.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.