With an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, an MBA, an Ed.D. in educational leadership, and a certificate in educational leadership and administration from Saint Rose, there’s little wonder that Sal DeAngelo has spent the majority of his career in finding technological solutions for public schools – first as business administrator and technology projects coordinator for Schenectady City School District, and then as chief technology officer for Bethlehem Central School District. But in 2017 DeAngelo took on the leadership role to which he’d aspired for years: superintendent and chief executive officer for the Chatham Central School District, serving just over 1,000 students in pre-k through grade 12. He shares thoughts on leadership, lessons learned from the pandemic, and the importance of encouraging students to be kind to one another.
What do you do in a typical day?
As a school superintendent, there is no typical day!
It is about servant leadership.
On any given day, we are doing everything from putting out fires to thinking about the strategic vision for our school districts.
We are consistently engaging our stakeholders. This means we are listening to everyone; our board members, teachers, students, parents, staff, and the greater community.
We are carrying out the mission of public education, which is to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to acquire an education that will make them productive citizens within our communities.
If we are successful, we are empowering our students to find their passion in life and their voice, teaching them to be good stewards of our natural resources, and finally to be kind to one another.
How did you find your career path?
The path found me!
How has your Saint Rose experience helped you?
The CAS program in Educational Administration not only provided me with the credentials to obtain my administrative certification, but the experience provided me with a strong theoretical foundation to build my experience.
In addition, the collaborative design of the program afforded me the opportunity to establish relationships with colleagues and connect to a network of other educators. These are relationships that I rely on to this day in my work as a superintendent.
What are three important things you’ve learned from our time during the pandemic?
The urgency of a crisis provides an opportunity for innovation and creativity. A Saint Rose professor in the New Era in Educational Leadership program, Robert McClure, once shared a quote with us that I use to this day, “Often, difficult situations are nothing more than cleverly disguised opportunities.”
When we work together in supporting each other, almost anything is possible.
Our world can change in a minute or in a year. If we maintain a growth mindset, we will be prepared to handle change that is thrust upon us.