Rochester City School District makes interim superintendent permanent choice

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. –– The Rochester City School District’s new leader is a familiar face. Dr. Carmine Peluso was named superintendent following a special meeting Thursday.

Dr. Peluso has been an RCSD employee for several years. He was principal of School 34, then became the district’s chief of schools in 2018.

He then became deputy superintendent of operations and administration. He was appointed interim superintendent in August after Dr. Lesli Myers-Small split from the district in July.

“Dr. Peluso is the best candidate to serve as superintendent,” school board President Cynthia Elliott said.

She acknowledged that the community expected to be part of the superintendent search, but said Dr. Peluso is a respected leader and his work in the community in the last few months “can not be overlooked.”

Having a “homegrown superintendent” is in the “best interests of the district” and the board has “decided to forego” a superintendent search involving the community, she added.

Several board members praised Dr. Peluso, saying they think he’ll bring stability. Indeed, the district has had a lot of changes at the top in the last 10 years. Eight people have served as superintendent, including Dr. Peluso.

“Dr. Peluso, good luck. This job is going to take all of the experience and talent of your accumulated tenure in the district overall and all the leadership that you’ve had the opportunity to cultivate in your professional life,” board member Willa Powell said.

The board was also going to vote on a contract with teachers, but has postponed that until January.