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Carmine Peluso to lead Rochester school district as Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small goes on leave

Rochester City School District Superintendent Carmine Peluso
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Rochester City School District
Rochester City School District Superintendent Carmine Peluso

Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small is on leave while negotiations about her exit are being finalized, according to a statement put out Wednesday night by Board of Education President Cynthia Elliott.

She said that effective immediately, Carmine Peluso, who is the deputy superintendent of operations and administration, will serve as acting superintendent.

Elliott’s statement said that Peluso is now in his 25th year in education, and during that time, the longtime educator in the district has also served as a chief of schools, principal and teacher.

Elliott said the board will begin discussions on the superintendent search process during a public work session next Thursday, Sept. 1.

Board member James Patterson last month confirmed that the school board wanted to cut short Myers-Small’s contract. That move was first reported by the Democrat & Chronicle.

Myers-Small reportedly had received negative evaluations over the course of the school year. In July, the board and the superintendent met to go over her performance review, and board members told her they wanted her out, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

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Myers-Small stepped in as superintendent in May 2020, after the former superintendent, Terry Dade, left for a position in downstate New York. Dade had been superintendent for just under a year.

The head of the Rochester Teachers Association, Adam Urbanski, issued a statement saying that the school board "made a good decision" in appointing Peluso as acting superintendent, and he said that the union looks forward to working with Peluso "to resolve the stalled negotiations, stabilize the district and increase the chances for a smooth reopening of schools."

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.