Howard Dennis is named Penn Yan Superintendent

Gwen Chamberlain
Penn Yan Superintendent of Schools Howard Dennis

Howard Dennis has been named the new superintendent of the Penn Yan Central School District. Dennis, who has been serving as the interim superintendent of the district since last June, when David Hamilton left Penn Yan for the Baldwinsville Central School District, is in negotiations with the board for a three-year contract.

“I am unbelievably happy about being selected as the Superintendent of the Penn Yan Central School District. This is an amazing district that offers incredible opportunities to our students and has a staff that is committed to making every child a success,” said Dennis after the board’s official vote on his appointment last week.

Looking toward the months ahead, Dennis sees the issues that must be tackled. “Penn Yan, like all districts in New York State has challenges, and I look forward to tackling those with the faculty and staff. We will continue the work we are doing with supporting our students to meet the increased mandates of New York State. I am committed to continuing and building on Penn Yan’s success,” he said.

School Board President Jeffrey Morehouse announced the appointment before the meeting, saying, “Over the last couple of months, the board has conducted a review of Mr. Dennis’ performance as our interim superintendent. He has demonstrated outstanding commitment, leadership and expertise in all areas. We are extremely proud to appoint him full-time as our Superintendent of Schools.”

Dennis began his teaching career in 1992 as a high school history teacher in the Jasper-Troupsburg Central School District before coming to Penn Yan in 1994. He was a Social Studies teacher in the eighth grade level here until 2002, when he became staff developer/mentor teacher and completed his administrative internship.

In addition to his most recent role as Associate Superintendent for Instruction, the position he has held since October 2004, he served Penn Yan students as Middle School Assistant Principa from February to October 2004.

Dennis earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the State University of New York College at Brockport. He earned his certificate of advanced study in educational administration at SUNY Oswego.

The Penn Yan Board of Education had not initiated a formal superintendent search process after appointing Dennis Interim Superintendent last year. The vote on his appointment was unanimous, with Vice President Ryan Hallings absent.

Other business at the Jan. 14 Board of Education meeting included:

• BUDGET: Cathy Milliman, Assistant Superintendent for Business, presented an overview of the district’s reserve funds, which total over $8 million to cover the cost of worker’s compensation and unemployment claims, unplanned repairs, capital improvements, turf field maintenance, technology, debt, tax certiorari, year end encumbrances, and employee retirements. The $425,000 fund for technology will be spent this year, as approved by voters for investment in technology for students — laptop computers and tablets.

Milliman and Dennis also presented preliminary information on the budget for 2015-16. Simply “rolling over” the existing spending plan, or continuing to provide the same services as are offered this year, will cost the district an additional $1.495 million, which equals a 4.52 percent increase in spending or 10 percent increase in the tax levy. Dennis promised more detail at the next board meeting, and assured the board the tax levy increase will be reduced.

“The leadership team is spending a lot of time digging into the numbers,” said Dennis.