Watertown school district’s new superintendent outlines priorities

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 4:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A new administration officially takes the helm for the Watertown City School District as Dr. Larry Schmiegel starts his first week as superintendent.

He says his top priority for his first week on the job is to listen and learn from both the staff and the students.

“Students first. A student-first focus. But in order to be a student-first focus you have to be a staff focus. You have to make sure that our staff, regardless of their position or title, that they have the support that they need,” he said.

The Chittenango native is returning home to New York and looks to provide some stability to the Cyclones after two consecutive interim superintendents preceded him this previous school year.

“I’ve had the opportunities throughout my administrative career to be a mentor for principals. So my plan is to work with our building principals to make sure we have some stability at the helm,” he said.

One of Dr. Schmiegel’s first assignments is staffing.

I think as a superintendent, we’re looking at the large picture. The union is also looking at the picture and creating that partnership with the district, and with our school board to make sure our needs are being met,” he said.

This comes on the heels of teachers’ union president Kevin Todd telling the board of education Tuesday night that more teachers should be hired.

Schmiegel starts his Cyclone career two weeks before a vote on the district’s proposed $92 million budget, $10 million more than the previous.

“With a school district budget, there are things that are date driven. Things are very specific in when things have to be approved. But, I like the idea as our board president said yesterday trying to include more community input,” he said.

Dr. Schmiegel says “Our Children, Our Future”, the district’s motto, is what stood out to him for why Watertown is the right fit and the right culture.