Superintendent Accepts Position With Buffalo-Area School

Dr. Keller-Cogan announces resignation effective June 30


Clarkstown School Superintendent announced Tuesday afternoon that she accepted a new position and was resigning from the district effective June 30.  Dr. Keller-Cogan, who led the district for six years, notified parents and staff by email. She met later in the afternoon with school principals.

Keller-Cogan will be the new head of school for the Elmwood Franklin School in the City of Buffalo.  The prekindergarten through eighth grade independent school is not part of the New York State School system.  The school’s enrollment numbers 343 students.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to work more closely with children and their families,” said Keller-Cogan. 

Long-running friction between Keller-Cogan and the board of education moved into the spotlight when a majority of the board voted in August to hire a search consultant firm to find a new superintendent.

Rhea Vogel, who served previously as a school board trustee, said the superintendent did some impressive things for the Clarkstown schools despite the differences of opinion with the board.

“It’s a sad day in Clarkstown that we’re losing a superintendent of excellent quality that has had a beleaguered administration,” noted Vogel. 

“I had a tremendous amount of respect for her. I would have liked Meg Keller-Cogan to work in the district another seven, 10 years,” said Vogel, who is the president of the Clarkstown North High School PTSA.

Board Trustee Joe Malgieri described Keller-Cogan as a true professional. 

“I’m sad to see her leave,” he said.  “I’m glad that she will be appreciated.”

District parents voiced their thoughts about the superintendent and the school board.

"I feel that it was time for her to resign, “ said April Forman, who has a son at Clarkstown North and another child who graduated from North. “The community on the whole is extremely divided on her, but personally I was ready for her to leave."

"It was the way she ran the district that I didn't like,” said Forman.  “My kids play sports, and it never really seemed like she supported the sports programs."

Forman said she was unhappy with the administration’s decisions about the new bleachers at the North football field.

Other parents supported the embattled superintendent.

"I think it's a very big mistake,” said Dr. Jay Levine, who has two teens attending high school.  “The school board was wrong to want her to go and to let her leave.  She was an excellent superintendent."

Levine said the board should have been forthcoming with its reasons for wanting to replace Keller-Cogan.

"If they had issues with her, we didn't know them,” he said.  “There's no transparency.  I'm not even sure if the board members who wanted her gone told each other why they didn't want her back.  We in the public certainly didn't know.”

Levine went on to criticize the board for not treating the superintendent and the residents of Clarkstown fairly.

“Maybe there are legitimate reasons,” Levine said.  “We don't know.  Whoever voted against her was irresponsible and not fit to be on the school board."

Another resident with a child in high school thought the issue lasted too long and was “politics as usual.”

"It seems like they've been trying to get rid of her for a while,” he said.  “It dragged out.  If you want someone fired then just fire them.  Don't drag it out like this."

Keller-Cogan is looking to the future.  She said it will be a great career opportunity for her to apply much of what she has learned over the years from teachers, educators and other administrators.  Her responsibilities include reviewing curriculum and making recommendations, increasing student enrollment, representing the school in the community and leading fundraising efforts.

She is familiar with the model of a kindergarten through eighth grade school, having attended one herself. Keller-Cogan said educational research is showing some of the advantages of the model such as less transition for students, a great opportunity for older students to be role models for younger students and fostering a great sense of community.

Keller-Cogan who starts at the Elmwood Franklin School during the second week in July, said she appreciated the chance to work with talented people in the Clarkstown district and enhance programs for its students.

“I am really just filled with good thoughts of the parents, the community, the staff,” she said. 

pj March 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Let's hope you don't eat those words and someone just as qualified as MKC is hired. She was a fine superintendent.
commonsensemom March 14, 2012 at 01:03 PM
The continued attacks on her after she has given her resignation is awful. Mrs. Forman sounds so stupid! Jrogers, did Lanave really get a raise of $40k? What is his position?
Yehbut March 14, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I seriously doubt it: http://law.onecle.com/new-york/education/EDN03003_3003.html
May 15h - D-Day March 14, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Good work, thanks...now back to the dress code??? is there one?
commonsensemom March 14, 2012 at 02:05 PM
commonsensemom March 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM
How wrong!
Yehbut March 14, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I guess mine was deleted as well because it was replying to yours. I attached a link that shows the qualifications for NYS superintendent. http://law.onecle.com/new-york/education/EDN03003_3003.html
Atomic Blast March 14, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Good morning! I remember Dr. Cogan. She is a very nice and intelligent person - nobody is perfect. Personally, I wish her well and hope that someone equal or better comes in her place. Clarkstown is supposed to be an "affluent" town, yet people that I speak with feel differently about it. They see kids going to school in nylon shorts and T-shirts, no socks, etc. My kids are never dressed that way for school. I also hear that there are problems with quality teaching aids/supplies and access to technologies which can really help these kids learn. Perhaps the CCSD is going downhill. This really bothers me. Annual taxes are through the roof and I look around and see little improvement in the town and the school district. Maybe Dr. Cogan sensed this and had enough. She is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. It's time to take back our town. We need a ethical and moral tsunami of epic proportions to make things right again. Going to school is not for just good grades, it is also for building character, which most kids still do not have. They all need a course in interpersonal relationships and social learning without using cell phones and the like. I am ranting here because this is the time for change. Let's do it.
The Terminator March 14, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Everyone should take a minute to read this: http://www.ehow.com/about_6515545_school-board-members-job-description.html I love the last part: Warning According to Great Schools, school board members who cannot focus on more than one topic and school board members who continually digress are not good candidates to serve. Coming to the board meeting unprepared can lead to an ineffective meeting. School board members should not micromanage nor should they serve to advance a political agenda.
firsthandnews March 14, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Why are comments being deleted when they contain public info about John Lanave?
wastedmoney2012 March 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Why are my comments being deleted?
jrogers10920 March 14, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Yes mam - Lanave is making $180k now. He was making $140K last year. They promoted him and gave him 30% raise!!!!!! Hows that for your 2% tax cap people. Phil Degatanos neighbor gets a 30% raise but Mrs. Froman your kids dont have a coach for their sports.
jrogers10920 March 14, 2012 at 07:00 PM
what did you say can you say it again?
Yehbut March 14, 2012 at 07:01 PM
What's with the censorship, Patch? Unless it compliments Keller-Cogan it gets deleted? Is the fix in? When comments get deleted, the least you can do is email the poster with a reason.
William Demarest (Editor) March 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Dear Patch Users: Just a reminder that the "comments" area is not a place for personal attacks or targeted personal accusations. We encourage public discussion on local issues, but that discussion must be respectful of others. Please consult our Terms of Use for more information.
Truth Seeker March 14, 2012 at 07:30 PM
From what I saw they weren't personal attacks or accusations. There was salary information which is public info and there were facts about lack of education for board members which is also public info. Public figures have to expect these disclosures. So the question remains, why were they deleted?
NewCityParent2012 March 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
William Demerest how about some real reporting from you guys.
firsthandnews March 14, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Stating an employees educational, work or salary history of a public school district is not something to hide. If you delete comments about John and his salary, work and educational background you better extend that courtesy to Dr. Keller-Cogan who is continually slammed on your blogs. I don't see the difference between posting about JL and MKC yet you seem to delete anything negative about John LaNieve. Care to respond to that?
firsthandnews March 14, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Alan Katz is NOT qualified to help with a super search as he is so biased its not funny. He is best friends with Lorette Adams and Bill Heebink. Remember, he stood up at a board meeting at North and had the you know whats to blame MKC for the rodent and bug problem at North. There were bugs at North when he went there AND FOR ALL THE YEARS HE WAS ON THE BOARD AND HIS FRIEND BILL WAS SUPER!!! Yet, he yells at the new super. Make sense to you?
Yehbut March 14, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I can understand deleting personal attacks. However, I had a link to a NYS law brief that spelled out a superintendent's minimum qualifications that was deleted twice. I have seen other posts that were not personal attacks deleted as well. There needs to be a higher standard set for public figures. Their salary is paid by our tax dollars, and we have the right to criticize their performance without it being labeled a personal attack. These are not just private citizens. Some of these deletions have been troubling and I hope they are not a trend or tied to undue pressure brought upon the editors. It would also be helpful to email the posters of their deleted posts so they may review what, if anything, was done wrong and allow them to resubmit a new modified post.
NewCityParent2012 March 14, 2012 at 08:33 PM
There are CCSD Board members that do not have college bachelor degrees. These Aretha people that are making decisions regarding our Children! This post will be deleted shortly. The patch is not doing the right thing. Maybe they are now owned by the CCSD BOE??
firsthandnews March 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I happen to know April Forman and am very surprised that she has such a limited scope. Should a Super be dismissed because of a bleacher problem? Or because of a decision the Board made about sports? April, what about the District buildings, education, saving money, etc. All the gread things Dr. Keller Cogan did? Hate to say it, but typical narrow minded response. I didn't have bleachers to sit in so get rid of her.
commonsensemom March 14, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Yehbut, one of my friends told me that someone here on the Patch is buddies with Phil D, Is this true? Maybe that explains the deleting?


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