FULTON, NY – As students and families have prepared for the start of the 2016-2017 school year, they join school staff, administration, the board of education, and Brian Pulvino, who has been diligently preparing to begin his first school year in the role of Superintendent of Schools for the Fulton City School District.
Pulvino began his position after prior superintendent, Bill Lynch concluded his 35 year career in the district, 11 of those spent as superintendent, when his retirement began at the end of last school year.
He was officially approved as Lynch’s replacement at the regular board of education meeting held late January 2016 and had spent the remaining months of the school year keeping up with district officials and learning about FCSD before officially beginning his position on July 1, 2016.
Pulvino has worked through the summer to become further acquainted with the administration and staff throughout the district as well as understanding the district’s current standing and needs.
At an August board of education meeting, Pulvino addressed the board members in regards to his 100 day entry plan.
“I’m really focused on knowing the story of Fulton City School District, where its been, and also where we want to go,” Pulvino said at the meeting.
The plan was organized into five key areas including governance team, organizational capacity and alignment, student achievement, community and public relations and operational support and business systems.
Pulvino plans to approach these areas in a multitude of ways including thoroughly reviewing and understanding the district’s current status, the creation of a “Superintendent Parent Council” as well as a school cabinet, and regular attendance at ample community involvement events and meetings with stakeholders to become familiarized with the community.
In spring, the Board of Education and the Fulton Public Library jointly hosted a welcome party for Pulvino to have the opportunity to meet some of the district’s staff as well as community members.
“We wanted to give the community a chance to meet Pulvino and showcase his background and experience,” Patty Kush, Vice President for the Fulton Public Library Board of Trustees, said at the gathering.
As part of the interview committee during the search for superintendent, Kush was familiar with Pulvino’s educational background and found it beneficial to FCSD.
Coming from a bigger district facing similar circumstances as Fulton, Kush said she found Pulvino’s ability to focus on the needs of students individually to be advantageous.
“All of the staff in the district go the extra mile, I think its going to be great to replace a great Superintendent with someone who has such experience, especially with special needs students,” she said.
Pulvino’s most recent position was as the Director of Special Education for Syracuse City School District, a district that houses over 4,000 students with special needs, 19% of the student population, according to Pulvino.
Moving to a smaller school district, Pulvino intends to bring the expertise gained from evolving in a much larger school district from school psychologist, to vice principal, to principal, to director of special education.
“There’s a great foundation here,” Pulvino told Oswego County Today at the welcome gathering hosted at the library. “There’s truly great things happening here. I’m confident that I can bring the knowledge and skill set in this leadership opportunity to offer a lens to tweak the things already in place and continue to build on the great work that’s been done.”
Pulvino emphasized that one of his biggest concerns as Superintendent is to provide guidance to students and to include stakeholder groups often, understanding their perception of strengths and weaknesses in the district.
He plans to implement drop-in hours at his office to allow anyone with questions or concerns the opportunity to address them, as well as participating in weekly walk-throughs of classrooms throughout the district to become better acquainted with the students and staff in their educational setting.
“I want to talk to our students, all different types of students even those who have dropped out. I want to hear the stories of our kids, because everyday we have the opportunity to add to that story, to help create the story they want for themselves,” Pulvino continued.
At the end of the day, Pulvino said, it’s the families and students of the district he is serving.
“It takes everyone together to create a strong fabric. I’m going to spend time listening, learning, drawing connections. The coherence and co-accountability, all accounting for our kids to get the best education possible, it comes back to making sure we really get our kids,” he said.
Pulvino found many examples to follow from former Superintendent, Bill Lynch who he cited as a “great resource.”
Lynch finished out the last school year sharing essential information with Pulvino and offering support.
“If I could encourage one thing for Mr. Pulvino, it would be to know the people of this school district. The students, parents, staff, what the staff does and how everyone works together, what’s occurring and why. I think there is a strong foundation here, and I firmly believe he will continue on those past successes. I think he is going to find this to be very rewarding for him,” Lynch said of his successor Pulvino.
“I think it was great to hire a new superintendent early, it’s made an easier transition. Working with Mr. Lynch before my start, he has been quite a mentor,” Pulvino said as he presented his 100 day plan. “We have amazing kids, we already know that. I’m looking forward to learning a lot this year.”