By Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — On Aug. 25, Shenendehowa’s Board of Education accepted the resignation of Ben Roberts as principal of Arongen Elementary School, effective immediately. He is headed to Long Island to serve as the head of a different elementary institution.
“Ben did a great job at Arongen,” district Superintendent Dr. L. Oliver Robinson said. “We wish him all the best in his new role.”
The search for prospective candidates to fill the void has begun. “As a part of the hiring and recruitment process, we will look to get input from the Arongen community about the characteristics the new principal should possess,” Robinson said. “First and foremost, we are looking for a strong instructional leader. As a district, our goals are ambitious and aspirational, and we expect our leaders to be dedicated and committed to realizing those goals.”
He continued: “We want someone with leadership experience. We want a leader that is confident. We want a leader that is student-centered. We want a leader that can form and foster positive and enduring partnerships with students, staff and parents alike.”
Since the departure occurred so close to the start of the school year, it was necessary to put an acting principal in place on a rush basis. On Aug. 31, it was announced that Robert Melia, assistant superintendent for data management and quality control, will temporarily take on the role and provide day-to-day oversight as the district proceeds with the process of hiring a permanent replacement.
“Mr. Melia is an experienced instructional leader having served as principal for many years; he understands the various processes and protocols, and he also knows how to connect the necessary district resources to ensure a seamless transition,” Robinson said.
“Otherwise, it is time lost bringing an ‘outsider’ up to date. The combination of knowledge of the district and Arongen coupled with strong instructional leadership experience is a tremendous combination to manage the day-to-day operations.”
Each elementary school within the Shenendehowa district has slightly a different personality, but they all share essential similarities, Robinson said. “Arongen is an off-campus elementary school; it is physically the largest elementary school building, with approximately 650 students,” he said. “Arongen hosts a diversity of students from various demographics. However, while those logistical differences may exist, we take pride in having more similarities among schools than differences, recognizing that students often move within the district and attend different schools.”
He continued: “Consequently, we want all students to have a similar quality experience, regardless of school boundary and attendance. Arongen is a great elementary school and we look forward to having a new leader to take it to new heights, building on the success of Mr. Roberts.”