PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Edward Kliszus had always intended to become a musician but it was through music that he ultimately found his way to working in education."Life takes its turns," said Kliszus, the new superintendent for the Port Chester-Rye Brook School district. He took over July 1.
Kliszus is a musician by training and holds a doctorate in music composition from New York University. His instruments of choice are the trumpet and the piano.
His first experience working in education was as a music teacher, which developed over time as he took on more responsibilities to become a music director, a principal and ultimately a superintendent.
"Taking on broader responsibilities allows you to do more for people," said Kliszus.
Kliszus has nine years' experience as a superintendent at three different school districts in New Jersey. He comes to Port Chester after three years at the Hackensack School District.
"I was already planning to move back to Manhattan," said Kliszus. "And I was looking around at nearby school districts. When I looked at Port Chester, I told myself, 'This is the place for me.'"
It is no coincidence that Kliszus' musical background drew him to a district whose high school marching band is renowned for its talent.
"It's always been a priority of mine to maintain the arts," said Kliszus. "It's nice to see a community that supports these programs."
Kliszus said one of the challenges he will face is dealing with the budget constraints imposed by the state cap on property taxes, which provide revenue for the school district. Music programs shouldn't be affected much, he said.
At the same time, new strategies will have to be made to increase students' academic performance, though Kliszus is cautious about placing too much emphasis on state tests.
"You can't just do what's on a standardized test," he said. "Math and language arts aren't everything. You have to provide more opportunities for students to find their strengths. The trick is to find the right balance."
What do you expect from your school district's new superintendent?
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