By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — CLINTONVILLE — AuSable Valley Central School District recently underwent administrative changes.
Effective July 1, Aimee Defayette stepped down from her role as High School principal to become the district’s head of special education.
Taking on Defayette’s former title is Javier Perez, who was dean of students at AVCS from 2009 until 2011, when the position was eliminated due to budget cuts.
For the past two years, Perez, who also previously taught Spanish at AuSable Valley High School, has served as principal of Lake Placid Elementary School.
He told the Press-Republican in an email that he is pleased to be returning to AVCS.
“I am really looking forward to working once again with the faculty and staff, as our relationship in the past was a very positive one,” said Perez, who has received a three-year probationary appointment as High School principal at a salary of $90,000.
“I also look forward to working with the student body and the entire AuSable Valley school community.”
In addition, he is eager to rekindle positive working relationships with his fellow administrators within the district.
“What I hope to accomplish is to continue to build on the academic excellence that AuSable Valley High School is known for and to collaborate, motivate and lead this faculty through all of the current state-driven educational initiatives,” Perez said.
“This is a very strong faculty and a great community, and together I really think we can accomplish a lot.”
In addition to earning a master’s degree in education in curriculum and instruction and a certificate of advanced studies in educational leadership from SUNY Plattsburgh, the new principal also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas and has a clinical social work license.
AuSable Valley Central Superintendent Paul Savage told the Press-Republican in an email that Perez is a “great student advocate and leader,” as well as an “excellent administrator” with a “strong communication ability.”
“We are thrilled to be able to get him back at AVCS,” Savage said.
Defayette, too, is pleased with her replacement.
“In relinquishing the seat of the High School principal, I hand it over to someone who already knows the district; he lives in the district; he’s a wonderful guy,” she said.
Defayette has taken on the duties of Committee on Special Education Chairwoman Brigid Shea, who recently retired.
Unlike Shea, who was not an administrator, however, the former High School principal has been given the title of administrative director of special education.
“There is no doubt that Ms. Defayette will continue to be an outstanding leader and administrator in the ever-changing special-education field and will bring a great deal of vision and expertise to the position,” Savage said.
“Ms. Defayette’s experience and leadership style will be a great asset to our School District.”
Defayette, who began her career in the field of special education before becoming a building principal, will receive a salary of $90,000.
“I think the thing that made this position so appealing is the fact that education now is about educating all children ... All students have learning needs, and being the director of special education gives me the opportunity to really support all students, not just kids with disabilities,” she said.
Defayette noted that having been the High School principal for 4.5 years, she already knows the climate and culture of the district, as well as members of the school community.
“I’m really looking forward to getting into the elementary schools and spending some time there,” she said. “My intention is to be in the classrooms and know the students.”
In addition, Defayette noted, her former position has given her a good understanding of where students need to be academically by the time they reach High School.
“So starting with the end in mind, and working with the other principals, we’ll be able to really create programs that are going to support our kids and get them where they want to be upon graduation, so that’s really exciting,” she said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org