Valley Central School Superintendent abruptly retires after community criticism
An Orange County school superintendent is now stepping aside after intense criticism over district actions involving student safety during a school threat.
Valley Central School Superintendent John Xanthis announced his retirement Wednesday night.
The longtime district educator and administrator abruptly stepped aside after days of parent scrutiny following the district’s decision to keep schools open before police said it was safe during a violent threat investigation aimed at Montgomery Elementary School.
“They brought our children into that school when police advised them not to – and that’s unacceptable,” said parent, Melissa Walsh.
Xanthis apologized in a letter but noticeably wasn’t present for a highly charged board meeting June 13 after details of what transpired were disclosed in a Facebook post by Montgomery police.
“He made this call,” said parent, Erin Card. “When you’re the leader of the district you should be present to answer those questions, and be accountable.”
Xanthis didn’t say why he’s retiring in his announcement letter but thanked Valley Central staff, students and the community for the opportunity to serve them over the years.
Parents say they’re looking forward to new leadership.
“Him stepping aside last night deciding to retire and leave the district was the step in the right direction,” said Card.
In his final remarks, Xanthis said in closing, “I wish you all the best as the district moves forward in serving your most precious asset – our students.”
The Valley Central Board of Education chose retired Assistant Superintendent Michael Bellarosa to return as interim superintendent.
They say they wish Xanthis “all the best” in his retirement.