New athletic director appointed at Onteora

The Onteora Board of Education appointed Ryan Naccarato as athletic director to replace Kim Pilla, who resigned November 30 after her attempted removal sparked criticism in the community. Naccarato will be paid $120,000 per year under a four-year probationary contract starting January 7, 2022. He was most recently athletic director of the Coxsackie-Athens school district. “I am quite happy to welcome Mr. Naccarato into our family,” board President Kevin Salem said at the December 7 meeting.

In December 2020, the school board approved former Superintendent Victoria McLaren’s recommendation to place Pilla on paid leave with no public explanation, prompting outcry from coaches, students, parents and members of the community who considered her a role model and someone who rebuilt the athletics program. More than 100 Pilla supporters attended three school board meetings via videoconference in December 2020 and January 2021.

The move prompted parent and former Onteora football coach Dave Alterio to run for the school board, though his bid was unsuccessful. “If we need a new slate of board members at Onteora, then that’s part of the process,” he said at the January 26 meeting.

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Pilla’s leave expired last January. But board of education votes on a separation agreement and McLaren’s recommendation to appoint Nicholas Mills as interim AD resulted in ties, thus failing to be enacted. With no separation agreement in place, Pilla then returned to the position. But soon after, the board soon appointed retired Kingston AD Glen Maisch as a consultant to look into the workings of the department. 

Maisch will act as interim AD until Naccarato assumes the role.