The Ballston Spa School District will soon have a permanent superintendent in Joseph Dragone, currently the assistant superintendent for the City School District at Albany.
Dragone was chosen after a lengthy selection process that has left Raymond Colucciello as the interim superintendent for three years. The Board of Education spent between four and six months looking at the last crop of candidates, according to Stuart Williams, coordinator of community relations for the Ballston Spa School District.
It's a lengthy process, said Williams. "What the board looks for is the best fit between the candidates and the school district, and [Dragone] rose to the top."
Dragone has 15 years of experience in public education in administrative and teaching positions. He currently heads up secondary education at the City School District at Albany, which Williams said will be beneficial in the district's efforts to bolster student achievement.
In a recent interview, Dragone told Spotlight Newspapers that his primary goal as superintendent will be strengthening the district's academics. "I do feel my strength is with organization and instructional leadership," said Dragone. "I look forward to getting to know the instructional programs as much as possible, and to plot out where the district needs to go over the next few years."
Among his plans are improving the district's higher education initiatives through programs like Advanced Placement classes, pre-AP courses and the International Baccalaureate program.
Dragone also mentioned introducing more foreign language opportunities and expanding the district's summer engineering camps. He'd like to increase electronic learning programs to offer online college courses, saying that it isn't just the classes, but the experience of utilizing the Internet that will be useful to college-bound students.
"There isn't a college freshman who doesn't use these new programs for communication and learning," said Dragone.
"It's really under an umbrella of providing the best academic experience." He said that the Albany district's similar work with Excelsior College has been very successful.