Westbury schools supe to leave district

Westbury superintendent Constance Clark-Snead. (June 7, 2010) Westbury superintendent Constance Clark-Snead. (June 7, 2010) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Longtime Westbury schools Superintendent Constance Clark-Snead, who led the district during some turbulent times including several failed budgets and a bitter battle over board leadership, is leaving the district at the end of the school year.

Clark-Snead, who had been informed last June by the board that her contract would not be renewed, declined to seek an extension or reversal of their decision.

"I have decided to try some new adventures," Clark-Snead said Tuesday. "I think that I have served the community well and I have brought a lot of programs into the district. It is time for me to do some other things."

During her tenure, Clark-Snead had faced calls for her ouster and criticism over what opponents said was her excessive salary. She led the district at least three times after voters defeated the school's budget. The State Department of Education listed Clark-Snead's salary at $300,632 for the 2011-12 school year.

Clark-Snead, who spent more than 12 years with the district, told the board at a January meeting that she will not seek an extension to her contract that expires June 30.

As part of her contract stipulation, she was informed last June that her contract would not be renewed but the board had recently been deliberating whether to reverse that until some members said they wanted new leadership, said board president Pless Dickerson.

Dickerson called Clark-Snead a "tremendous visionary for the district."

"She instituted many new programs for the benefit of our students, and she has led during difficult times," Dickerson said. "I find her to be the professional person who cares about the kids in Westbury."

Clark-Snead served as superintendent when a challenge to the current board leadership was mounted by a group of former board members and current board member Karin Campbell seeking to oust Dickerson in 2010. A State Supreme Court decision affirmed the status of Dickerson and the other board members who had been elected in May 2010.

Clark-Snead's position had been challenged as well and she had announced her retirement in June 2010 and reportedly took a job in New Jersey, but rescinded her retirement and stayed in Westbury. The district has not named a replacement.

In this past school election in May, many voters carried a flier distributed by a former board member criticizing Clark-Snead for a 3 percent raise next year, noting that her listed base salary was more than that paid to the governor. The budget failed and the district is on an austerity spending plan.

Voters also defeated the budgets in 2003 and 2007.

Clark-Snead said her greatest challenge has been "getting people to believe in the children of this school district and to support the budget each year."

She said she was proud of students' academic achievements. She lauded the administrative team and a Mandarin Chinese program for middle schoolers.

"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work in Westbury," she said.

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