The Saugerties Central School District’s Board of Education this week announced the appointment of Kirk Reinhardt as its new superintendent, choosing the current principal of Kingston High School from a field of around 40 candidates.
Reinhardt will earn an annual salary of $180,000 over the course of his three-year contract, which will see him officially take the reins of the district on July 1. Reinhardt, a 1982 graduate of Kingston High, has been principal of the school since 2014. After high school, Reinhardt served in the United States Army for three years and was a non-commissioned officer in the New York Army National Guard for 17 years. He served in Iraq and received the Bronze Star, awarded for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
Reinhardt graduated from SUNY Ulster in 1987, then received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in mathematics secondary education at SUNY New Paltz. Later, he earned a School District and Building Leader of Advanced Study from SUNY New Paltz.
Sticking close to home, Reinhardt began his educational career in as a math teacher at New Paltz High School in 1991, also tackling the role of varsity football coach from 1996-2000, a period during which the team was the Section IX runner up on two occasions.
Reinhardt arrived in Kingston in 2001 as a physics teacher, eventually becoming the district’s director of math, science and technology in 2012.
Reinhardt was officially appointed by the SCSD’s School Board during a meeting on Tuesday, March 19, emerging as the district’s choice from four finalists after a six-month search led by Ulster BOCES Superintendent Charles Khoury and shaped by feedback gleaned from a community survey, a public forum, and several focus groups which included parents, teachers and administrators.
“The process on getting hired was hard work, but very professional,” said Reinhardt in a press release. “It’s been an amazing journey, and I look forward to this opportunity.”
Reinhardt cited among his immediate goals increasing the district’s graduation rate, which slipped from 82 percent in 2017 to 80 percent the following year. The number of students in the 2018 cohort rose from 223 the previous year to 250, with a total of 199 graduating compared to 183 in 2017. The graduation rate across the state for both years was around 80 percent.
Offering more opportunities for early college access is also on Reinhardt’s agenda for the SCSD.
“I want to drill down and see what’s going on behind the curtain, find out what the stop gaps are, speak with staff, look at AP courses, and showcase the multiple pathways for graduation.”
Lawrence Mautone, the district’s deputy superintendent, has served as interim superintendent since late last September, stepping in when former Superintendent Seth Turner left the SCSD to take on a similar role in the Amagansett Union Free School District.
Previously a teacher with BOCES in Plattsburgh, Turner came to Saugerties in 1997 as a special education teacher in the alternative education program at the high school. In 2000 he became an assistant principal before becoming principal at Grant D. Morse Elementary in 2003. Turner was hired as superintendent in the SCSD in 2009 following the retirement of Richard Rhau. Turner’s most recent contract with the district was approved in 2015 and would have run through 2020.
Amagansett students, all of them in grades kindergarten-5, move into the East Hampton Union Free School District for middle and high school. There are fewer than 100 students in the district.
In a press release, SCSD School Board President Robert Thomann explained why Reinhardt was appointed as superintendent.
“Mr. Reinhardt was chosen because among all of the candidates for the position, he was able to articulate a clear and comprehensive vision for the future of the Saugerties School District,” said Thomann. “His background demonstrates that he possesses the qualifications to make that vision a reality. He has proven leadership skills.”
The SCSD has 2,560 total students in grades K-12, around 600 more than the number at Kingston High School alone this year. Though his role will change as he moves to a smaller school district, Reinhardt plans to bring a similar style to Saugerties from Kingston.
“My approach to education is to be transparent and advocate for student success,” he said. “I’m visible and accessible. I will continue that in Saugerties.”