The Valley Central Board of Education called a special meeting on Wednesday, June 22, during which the Board accepted the resignation of Superintendent of Schools John Xanthis. This comes after Xanthis faced criticism concerning his judgment and decision making following a threat made to Montgomery Elementary School earlier this month.
Xanthis announced his retirement in a statement posted on the school district website.
“I began my career at Valley Central in 1978 as a high school social studies teacher, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to finish my career in this school district. I had the privilege of working with dedicated professionals over the last 7 years and I am proud to have played a part in this outstanding district,” he wrote.
“I was always humbled by the way our administrators, teachers, students and staff handled the difficulties presented by the pandemic. The challenges were unprecedented and our community certainly met them with resilience, flexibility and professionalism.”
“Thank you for your support and encouragement. I am grateful to have had such a rewarding experience in all facets of this job. Every event I attended, from plays to sporting events and extracurricular programs and all of the organizations that work tirelessly for our students and teachers, I was met with kindness and respect. I will never forget the people I worked alongside, not only in the district, but also in the community.
“I wish you all the best as the district moves forward in serving your most precious asset, your students.”
Former Valley Central Deputy Superintendent Mike Bellarosa will be acting as the interim superintendent and a search for new superintendent of schools will begin immediately according to district officials at the meeting. Bellarosa, a graduate of the Valley Central Schools, retired as Deputy Superintendent in 2020.
Bellarosa spent about half of his career teaching English and coaching track and field as well as cross country at Cornwall Central High School, Tappan Zee High School and the United States Military Academy. He also coached track and field as well as cross country at Villanova University.
He was the athletic director for the Valley Central School District for ten years and at the Cornwall Central School District for three years. Bellarosa also served as the assistant athletic director at Tappan Zee High School. He further showcased his leadership skills as assistant principal of Minisink Valley High School.
In the 2016-17 school year, Bellarosa returned to the Valley Central School District as its assistant superintendent and was later promoted to Deputy Superintendent
Neither Xanthis nor Bellarosa was present, Saturday, at the Valley Central High School Commencement Ceremony. The superintendent traditionally speaks at the graduation ceremony, certifying the graduating class and presenting the class to the board of education. Xanthis had been listed in the graduation program as a speaker.