Michael Tebbano came from Voorheesville in 1997 to work in the music department at Bethlehem High School.
Nearly 15 years later, Tebbano is leaving his position atop the district as he prepares to move to Florida with his wife.
“I came here to be the high school band director and never had any intention of doing anything more than that,” Tebbano recalled during a recent interview. “One thing led to another and the district saw some leadership potential in me and encouraged me to step it up, and I did.”
Stepping up in a downturn
Tebbano took over as superintendent in the fall of 2008 and has led the district through tumultuous financial times since then.
“People tell me that I was superintendent at the worst time in public education,” said Tebbano. “In a way, it was probably not what I had wanted. Then again, when you are a chief executive officer of an organization, you don’t always have the opportunity to determine what the playing field would be like.”
The district’s financial situation played a significant role in Tebbano’s time as superintendent. He said the fiscal downslide in public education occurred on his doorstep, and at the same time, the district lost Assistant Superintendent for Business Steven O’Shea, who died in October 2008 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Tebbano said at the time, he was in a “real fix.”
“My biggest accomplishment is, over the last 3 1/2 years, I have been able to get the district to be more fiscally responsible, to get the district to learn to do with less, to get the district to gather support of the community during these very difficult times and make some very difficult budget decisions so that we have a phenomenal educational program given at a cost basis that will not break the backs of the community,” said Tebbano.