Matt Sickles views Cobleskill-Richmondville as a stellar rural school in a community proud of its educational system.
That’s why he accepted he job as C-R’s new superintendent.
“I found something pulling me back to a rural area, to a strong, proud, tight-knit community,” Mr. Sickles said Monday.
Currently superintendent at Midlakes Central School in the Finger Lakes area, Mr. Sickles will replace Carl Mummenthey, who’ll become Niskayuna superintendent July 1.
The C-R school board unanimously appointed Mr. Sickles at a special meeting last Thursday.
The board started with 12 “good quality” candidates before narrowing the list to three, according to President Bruce Tryon.
“It quickly became very obvious that Matt was the leader,” he added. “He was the right person for the job, no question.”
C-R’s search included public forums and surveys.
“The community made clear to us that our next leader should be a strong communicator and collaborator, committed to excellence in instruction and education and experienced in fiscal management,” Mr. Tryon said.
He also cited Mr. Sickles’ experience as an administrator, dealings with the community at Midlakes, familiarity with capital projects “and his general demeanor” as qualities that convinced the board.
Mr. Sickles’ salary will be $178,000; Mr. Mummenthey earns $178,535.
Mr. Sickles grew up in the Capital District, attended Hoosick Valley schools and earned degrees from Siena and Union.
He was first at Shenendahowa as a high school social studies teacher, department administrator and then assistant and associate principal. He was also a principal at Schuylerville for 12 years.
Mr. Sickles, 49, became Midlakes superintendent in 2017. C-R is only slightly larger in student population but much larger geographically, he said.
Mr. Mummenthey several years ago spearheaded a program to develop C-R’s strategic plan––a roadmap for the future––and Mr. Sickles recently did the same at Midlakes.
Looking forward to his new post, Mr. Sickles said he was “blown away by the opportunity C-R kids have, and I want to continue to support that.”
Another plus: He has family in the Capital District and wanted to be close to them.
“But I also wanted to be selective,” Mr. Sickles said.
He described himself as someone who likes to listen, form relationships and learn what’s important to them.
Mr. Sickles and his wife, Laurie, are the parents of two daughters, Abby, 23, and Ella, 20.
In his spare time, Mr. Sickles enjoys golf, hiking, ancestry research, Civil War history, crime novels and traveling. He’s also a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.
Mr. Mummenthey leaves C-R June 30, but Mr. Sickles doesn’t start until September 1. In the interim, David Sander will be C-R’s interim superintendent. (See related story in this week's T-J.)