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South Jeff Central to appoint Mary Beth Denny as superintendent

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ADAMS — Just 12 days after South Jefferson Central School District Superintendent Jamie A. Moesel announced her retirement, the district’s Board of Education disclosed it will appoint Mary Beth Denny, Adams, as its next superintendent.

Mrs. Moesel informally announced her retirement to the Times on March 13, but officially submitted her resignation letter to the Board of Education Monday night. Her retirement officially begins July 19, at which time Mrs. Denny will assume the post.

Mrs. Denny has served as an administrator in the school district for 10 years, and has been the assistant superintendent for the past three years.

Board Vice President Pamela E.D. Thomas said the board has been discussing the means for finding a new superintendent since Mrs. Moesel informally expressed to the board her interest in retiring more than three months ago. Mrs. Thomas said the board never notified the public that it was seeking a candidate for the job.

“We didn’t feel like we could get anyone better than Mary Beth,” Mrs. Thomas said. “When you know you have the right choice, you don’t have to go and look for anyone else.”

Mrs. Denny said her husband, Warren L., recently retired from the school district as a high school math teacher. Mrs. Thomas said the board saw no conflict of interest stemming from the fact that Mrs. Denny’s sister-in-law, Karen M. Denny, is the high school principal. She said throughout her career, Mary Beth Denny has proven her integrity, loyalty and communication skills, and knows how to assemble a curriculum.

Mrs. Denny said her two children, Leah C. and Alex R., will both be out of the South Jefferson district by the time she takes her new position in July. Her daughter is a senior at South Jeff and her son is a junior at Castleton (Vt.) University.

Mrs. Denny received her undergraduate degree in special education from Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pa.; her master’s degree in curriculum planning and development from SUNY Albany, and her certificate of advanced study in educational administration from SUNY Oswego.

“I’m ready for any challenges. I am a South Jeff girl; I’m invested in this community,” Mrs. Denny said.

She said she began her education career at South Jefferson district in 1984 as a special education teacher. In 2000 she began working in the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services. In 2004, she returned to South Jefferson to take the position of assistant superintendent when Mrs. Moesel was promoted to superintendent.

“I said to Mrs. Moesel the other day we have similar backgrounds,” Mrs. Denny said.

Both Mrs. Moesel and Mrs. Denny began their education careers at the district working in the special education department, went on to work at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES and then came back to the district to serve as assistant superintendent before being promoted to superintendent.

Mrs. Moesel said she believes Mrs. Denny will do an outstanding job as superintendent because she knows the challenges of the district.

Mrs. Denny said one of the challenges she will have to overcome is to learn the budgeting process. She said other challenges that all school districts face are budget cuts, state aid issues, and safety and security concerns. She said changes in curriculum and Common Core subjects are equally important.

“I have new things to learn, but luckily we have a nice transition period before [Mrs. Moesel] goes,” Mrs. Denny said.

Mrs. Thomas said the board is confident that the transition of Mrs. Denny into the position of superintendent will be virtually seamless because of her educational experience and her strong relationship within the South Jefferson community.

The South Jefferson School District, one of the largest in the area, serves about 2,000 students, has about 360 employees and covers 225 square miles.

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