OSWEGO, NY – Benjamin ‘Ben’ Halsey inked a new deal Tuesday afternoon with the Oswego City School District.
Halsey is currently the Superintendent of North Collins Central School District.
He will take the reins of the Oswego district as of Dec. 2.
In a brief meeting, the board unanimously voted to hire Halsey to replace former superintendent Bill Crist.
Crist retired at the close of the 2012-13 school year and is currently the interim superintendent for the Massena Central School District.
He will take over as superintendent of the Syracuse Diocesan schools in March 2014.
Oswego’s interim superintendent, Gary Mix, will step down on Dec. 1.
Tuesday’s meeting, held in a second floor conference room at the Education Center, was attended by several representatives from around the district and the community.
“I am extremely appreciative of your attendance here,” Halsey told the crowd.
He thanked the board for giving him the opportunity to be Oswego’s next superintendent.
“I have been in this business long enough to know that there are a lot of extremely qualified people who are educational leaders; and, to make it to this point, for a district that is as passionate about their kids and about their community as all of you are is a great honor to me,” he said. “It’s going to be my mission and my family’s mission to make sure that no one is disappointed.”
One of his primary missions will be to improve Oswego’s graduation rates and “students’ academic performance across the board,” he said following the meeting.
“One of my priorities is to improve the graduation rate. I want to get it up to and over 90 percent,” he told Oswego County Today. “That would be my ultimate goal. Where I’m coming from we got it up to 96 percent. I’m very proud of that.”
Coming to Oswego is somewhat of a homecoming for the new superintendent. His parents are graduates of Mexico High School. He is a graduate of Sandy Creek High School. His wife, Karen, is a former teacher in the Sandy Creek district.
He said he’s sad to be leaving his current district but also excited about getting started in Oswego.
One of the things he wants to learn more about is The Buc, Oswego’s Big Picture School.
“When I heard about that school, I was very impressed. That kind of creative program is exactly what’s needed to reach those kids. They were struggling and not being successful in your traditional environment. This is just what they need to succeed. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of good things from that program,” he said.
Halsey has been an athletic director, assistant principal and principal during his career.
“I was hired at North Collins as their high school principal. After two and a half years, the superintendency became available and I interviewed for it. I’ve been superintendent ever since,” he said. “I had taught physical education and health in my first few teaching positions.”
“They are very passionate about their school district, very supportive of it,” he said of the school board and Oswego community. “It appears to me there are a lot of people who want to be a part of helping us move forward. It was clear, even when I met the stakeholder group, through the interview process, that there was a whole diverse group of people that want to be a part of this. I’m humbled and honored to be given this opportunity and very excited to get going.”