ORISKANY — After eight “blessed” years of service to school and community, Gregory K. Kelahan is stepping down as superintendent of Oriskany Central School District.
Kelahan recently announced that he has accepted a position as superintendent of Watkins Glen Central School District effective July 1, at the start of the new fiscal school year.
‘Committed to the core’
Superintendent since January 2010, Kelahan said while he treasurers his years of service in Oriskany, it was time to “become energized by a new adventure.”
“I was blessed to work in a community that gives its entirety to the school district...I couldn’t have wished for anything that was not already here,” Kelahan said as he reflected on his work in Oriskany. “The children are kind and respectful, the parents are nurturing and the staff is bar none — each and every one of them is committed to the core to helping each child.”
Kelahan received his bachelor’s degree in elementary/secondary science education from the State University College at Buffalo, a master’s degree in science teaching from Syracuse University and a certificate of advanced study in educational administration from the State University of New York at Cortland.
Headed to Finger Lakes
With more than 25 years experience in education, Kelahan previously served as coordinator of curriculum and special programs at Cazenovia. He was also the elementary principal/K-12 curriculum coordinator in the Madison Central School District. Prior to that, he was a staff and curriculum development specialist for Madison-Oneida BOCES.
Kelahan said an opportunity arose in Watkins Glen, a school district nearly twice the size of Oriskany’s approximately 610 students that encompasses portions of Whitestown, Floyd and Marcy.
With daughters Alaina, 22, who graduated from Wells College and Glenna, 20, attending SUNY Brockport, Kelahan said he and wife Linda, a school counselor, felt the Finger Lakes region was a nice place to relocate as the couple starts to look into their retirement years.
Besides working in Oriskany, however, the couple shares fond memories of the community, both spending the night before their wedding at the former Trinkaus Manor.
“We will always have an emotional connection here,” he said.
The superintendent said he considers Oriskany a place where he accomplished great things and looks forward to leaving a legacy in Watkins Glen.
“I had the privilege to be here when wonderful things happened and these were great chapters” in my career “that were written here,” Kelahan said of Oriskany. “The economy fell out and we were not only able to get through, but we survived at a tremendous level of performance. That shows that this is a community that invests in its children” and will continue to succeed “in the years to come.”
During Kelahan’s tenure in Oriskany, he and the Board of Education established the district as a “School of Innovation.”
The Beyond the Box Innovation Initiative is a district-wide project geared toward better preparing students for college and the careers of the future. “Beyond the Box” is part of a movement to identify how the district can market itself as one that effectively prepares children for careers and opportunities of the 21st century.
Kelahan said the initiative created a partnership of supports that went well beyond the school, and included collaborations between Utica College, Griffiss Institute, Utica thINCubator, ANDRO Computational Solutions, Rome Air Force Research Laboratory and others. The superintendent said a similar “innovation lab” exists in Watkins Glen.
“The Board of Education in Oriskany thinks so far ahead, attending to the needs of the community,” Kelahan said. “It’s a very exciting time not just for me, but for Oriskany.”
He said the village, “is right in the heart of an exciting region of New York State. We’ve been able to work with outstanding colleges and with neighboring school districts” to grow students’ educational experiences, “without merging, while working along with BOCES.”
Kelahan said he will be “forever grateful” for the personal and professional growth he has experienced while serving as superintendent in Oriskany.
“I’m leaving Oriskany with great memories, great experiences and great friends that will last forever,” Kelahan said. “I will forever be indebted, and I certainly expect Oriskany to continue to do great things.”