After 10 years as Washington County's Superintendent of Schools, Wayne Gersen has taken a similar post with a system in Wappinger Falls, N.Y., a system with fewer students, a bigger budget and higher pay for its top official. Nice perks, but as he said in the last commentary he wrote for The Herald-Mail, he was also frustrated by the fact that citizens here hadn't spoken out as budgets got tighter and tighter.
During his tenure here, Gersen instituted higher standards for students and began the process of bringing the Internet and related technology into the classroom. The pre-kindergarten program's enrollment was more than doubled, the elementary guidance counseling program was expanded and the Career Studies Center was converted to a comprehensive high school, mixing academic and trade skills programs.
Gersen also rode out a financial scandal that resulted in the departure of two top officials, a scandal that some of his foes used as a stick to punish him for other transgressions, real or imagined. Instead of helping him deal with the matter, which did not involve a great deal of money, they cited it as evidence that he was not on top of the job.