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Rochester schools shuffle top leadership days before students return

RCSD leadership is in transition just days ahead of the first day of school. Former Superintendent Lesli-Myers-Small (left) submitted her resignation on Thursday. Carmine Peluso (center) has been appointed interim superintendent and Linda Cimusz (right) has assumed the role of chief of staff this week.
Carmine Peluso is the newly-appointed interim superintendent of the Rochester City School District.

The Rochester City School District’s former superintendent, Lesli Myers-Small, formally resigned Thursday.

School Board President Cynthia Elliott and board commissioners accepted Myers-Small's resignation during an executive session at their Thursday meeting.

This is according to a resolution passed outside of the executive session. Details of the agreement were not immediately made available.

This comes about six weeks after the board informed Myers-Small in an executive session that they wanted to negotiate her departure. Myers-Small reportedly had received negative performance evaluations.

Myers-Small's contract was set to end on May 18, 2024. She earned an annual salary of $250,000. She will be replaced by interim superintendent Carmine Peluso, whose salary is set at $235,000 per year.

Peluso’s term is slated to end on June 30 or sooner. Peluso was formerly the deputy superintendent and served as principal of School 34 for four years.

The district has also appointed Linda Cimusz as new interim chief of staff. On Thursday, the school board approved a starting salary of $180,000 a year for her position.

Cimusz previously served as an interim superintendent with the district in 2016, shortly after then-interim superintendent Daniel Lowengard suffered a stroke just days into his tenure. She was later appointed chief of staff in 2018.

The school year starts on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.