Joseph Zanetti to retire as Tuxedo schools chief

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:54

Longest serving Orange County superintendent to leave Feb. 28, 2011 TUXEDO - Joseph Zanetti, the superintendent of the Tuxedo School District who has the distinction of being the longest serving school superintendent in Orange County’s history, has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 28, 2011. Zanetti joined the Tuxedo School District as its business administrator 25 years ago. He was later named assistant superintendent and then assumed the superintendency, a position he’s held for the past 13 years. “I have mixed feelings about this,” said Zanetti, who added most school superintendents stay in those roles for three to four years. “There was a combination of factors for this. But I reached retirement age four years ago. There were a lot of major issues on the table three years ago, major items like Greenwood Lake and Warwick. I felt I needed to be there for that.” Zanetti stressed the current issues are not any less major, but “there’s a lot of reasons for me to go at this point. There’s no eternity here. I have to leave at some point. I have to do what’s best for my family and myself.” Tuxedo, Greenwood Lake, Warwick Coming up for the small Tuxedo School District are issues related to its relationship with the Greenwood Lake School District, which contracts with Tuxedo to send its high school students to Tuxedo, and what will happen when that contact expires. Greenwood Lake wants to build its own high school. If that were to ever happen, Tuxedo would lose a major part of its high school student body, leaving it with significant challenges as well. Also in the mix is the Warwick Valley School District, which previously voted down accepting Greenwood Lake students, and which is currently looking at its own declining enrollment issues. Like all districts, Tuxedo faces a critical budget preparation process in the late winter months as well. “There’s never a good time to leave,” he said. “There’s always work to do and there’s a lot of work to do. The storm that we’re in has not subsided. The current fiscal crisis we’re in puts school districts and public entities in the spotlight.” Zanetti, a former teacher, said he’ll especially miss seeing students every day. His office is based at George F. Baker High School, and at any given moment, he can visit classrooms there and at the George Grant Mason School, which houses kindergarten through eighth-graders. Both are located on the same campus. Thanks from the board Zanetti said his decision to retire was made over the summer months and he officially announced it to the Board of Education at its Sept. 16 meeting. On its Web site, the Tuxedo Board of Education posted a statement thanking Zanetti for his service. “We thank Mr. Zanetti for his dedication to the students, staff, and community of Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake for over 25 years,” the statement said. “He has led the district in a most positive direction and we are grateful for his many fine accomplishments over the years.” The board is now planning for this administrative change and said it would provide updates as it moves forward during this transition time frame. - Nancy Kriz

The tough part is not being around the kids. I can open my office door and talk to an 18-year-old or a five-year-old. That’s valuable if you’re a people person, and that’s me. That is the inherent value of a small school district setup like ours.” Joseph Zanetti, who will retire as superintendent of the Tuxedo School District, effective Feb. 28, 2011.