FULTON – The Fulton City School District Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Brian T. Pulvino to superintendent of schools at Tuesday’s (Jan 26) meeting.
A bachelors degree in psychology from Hobart College, followed by a masters degree in school psychology from Boston College and a CAES degree in educational administration from Syracuse University led Pulvino to his current position as the Director of Special Education for Syracuse City School District, a district with 21,300 students of which 4,400 have disabilities.
Starting his career in 1990 as a school psychologist for Syracuse City School District, Pulvino then moved to administrative assistant for the same school in 1994.
Since, Pulvino has served as principal and vice principal to five other Syracuse City School District schools, the largest of those being Nottingham High School before landing his present-day position in 2006 and completing the Superintendent Development Program at SUNY Oswego in October of 2013.
Noting all of his training and career experience has taken place in an urban setting, Pulvino felt the draw to Fulton City School District as a perfect fit for him.
“One of the things they say when you’re pursuing a superintendency is ‘fit.’ And one of the things for me for 25 years now has been urban… My whole career has been around urban centers. I grew up in rural but there was something about Fulton when it came up. I was going to apply so I read and looked into a lot of different things and I just liked the match around the types of kids and the backgrounds and the needs they presented, the socioeconomic status,” said Pulvino.
With his background proficient in psychology, administration and special needs, Pulvino feels a familiarity with the needs of the students within the district.
“I think the work they do around specialized populations, around English language learners as well as students with disabilities obviously those two areas are near and dear to my heart and my experience as well but I think also that ability to really focus on individual kids is great here. There’s a constant theme, drilling down to the needs of each student,” he added.
Pulvino notes he was once employed as a Schools Under Registration Review Principal, meaning the school was in the bottom 5% of the state. After being appointed principal, the school was well off the list within two years, he says.
“Most importantly, we did it around looking at each individual child and setting individual goals for each child. The children knew their goals from the kindergartners right up to the eighth graders and they could tell you what their goal was, what they were working on, what their teacher was working on, and then we celebrated those accomplishments every quarter. That’s what I feel here, there’s this drilling down to the needs of each student. Who they are, what their needs are, and now that we know what their needs are, what do we do? And that’s what I’m all about, that’s what my career has been all about. And you see it, but you don’t always see it to the extent you do here, I just saw that as a great opportunity” he added.
FCSD Board of Education President, David Cordone feels that Pulvino’s background is a strong asset to his appointment as superintendent.
“We are excited,” Cordone started. “We are very aware of his background and we are appreciative of that. Coming from Syracuse, he has faced similar challenges and I don’t think this will be much of a shock for him. He’s currently responsible for a larger population of students so it won’t be overwhelming for him either. We look forward to learning from him and seeing what he can bring to the district, possibly having a different understanding of the best practices for our students,” he said.
As part of the superintendent search process, each of three finalists toured the buildings throughout the district to get some inside perspective as to what FCSD has to offer.
“As you tour the buildings, you could actually see it happening. You could see it living in the schools. That kind of thing, constant reinforcing of commitment and relationships, and moving forward as teams and I just think there is something very consistent with that theme here, and that’s something I very much believe in. That’s why I fit, you could after the tour think you didn’t fit but for me, it reinforced what I had learned about the district,” he continued.
Cordone felt the tour of the buildings brought a sense of pride to the board of education as well.
“The staff couldn’t have been better, it was amazing to see everything we talk about so highly actually in place and working. They are great and their sense of pride was very apparent to our finalists,” said Cordone.
Pulvino will officially begin his new position of superintendent as of July 1, 2016 and will serve a 3 year contract.
“I’m really excited, I’m looking forward to July 1st rolling through here. I think we are gonna make great happen. I think its already happening here, so we really have an opportunity to make some great things happen for each one of our kids,” said Pulvino.
Current superintendent, William Lynch, has served in his position for ten years and the board officially acknowledged his retirement in an October 2015 meeting.
Since then, the school board had been actively searching for a replacement with utmost emphasis placed on community participation and involvement in each step of the process.
Thoroughly documented on the school’s website, the search for superintendent was a multistage process including the use of a consultant, surveys, and focus group and interview teams for each represented category including parents, students, community, administration, teachers and more.
“We were really pleased with the input we received. Of course we’d like for everyone to be involved, but the input we had is very representative of the community. You could really pick up the sense of pride from the responses of the those that participated and the finalists were very aware of that,” said Cordone.
Pulvino looks forward to his start as superintendent of schools and plans to continue working alongside the board to approach a variety of crucial subjects, including graduation rates.
“I think obviously graduation rates, that’s what we’re all here for. Ultimately, what happens from Pre-K all the way through 12th grade to ensure that we get as many of our kids across that stage prepared for college, career, civic readiness, ready to meet the rigors of the world. We often just talk about college and career but you also have to have that ability to be a part of your community, to give back to your community, to strengthen your community. That’s what is going to keep our community’s vibrant over time,” said Pulvino.
Each member of the board of education took their turn in congratulating and welcoming Pulvino to the district as well as high school principal, Donna Parkhurst.
“I just wanted to say thank you to the board of education, I’m truly honored for this opportunity and I am humbled to be following Mr. Lynch…. I am looking forward to the work we are going to do together,” said Pulvino.