‘Here it’s more like a happy family’
By Michael Turton
Michael Twardy is the Haldane Central School District’s new director of Facilities, Operations and Transportation, replacing long-time director Wayne Robinson, who retired earlier this year. Haldane School Board trustees approved the appointment, at an annual salary of $82,000, on Aug. 14.
Twardy, who officially began his duties on Aug. 27, comes to Haldane from the Mahopac Central School District, where he worked for 10 years, most recently as head custodian. In addition to his experience there, Twardy also owned and managed a successful cleaning business for more than 10 years. He holds a degree in business from the University of Massachusetts and a two-year certificate in facilities management.
Twardy had little trouble deciding to seek the position at Haldane. “Since … working in Mahopac as a custodian, I always had my sights set on being a director of facilities,” he said. “I … went back to school and got an associate degree in facilities management.” Twardy said that he was sold on the position after speaking with Superintendent of Schools Mark Villanti, Business Manager Anne Dinio and other school officials. “It seemed no matter who I met, they had positive energy,” Twardy said.
At one time Haldane had no director of facilities — something that in hindsight Villanti said was very dubious. “What a mistake that was,” he said in an email to Philipstown.info. “There are so many federal and state requirements made of school districts concerning the health and safety of our facilities that … to go without a director would be foolish and unsafe. A good director also saves money in the long term.”
Even with aging buildings, numerous capital improvements, heating and cooling systems to manage, storm-water drainage issues, transportation challenges, and many other tasks to supervise, Twardy does not see the actual work as his biggest initial challenge. “My main priority right now is to ensure good communication amongst my staff,” he said. “I need to find out how the day-to-day operations run.”
Haldane will be a very different experience for Twardy compared to Mahopac. “The biggest difference is in size,” he said. “Mahopac was huge, and you seem to get lost in the shuffle. Here it’s more like a happy family.”
Trustees have often praised Villanti for his ability to make good choies in hiring new staff, and he saw abilities and traits in Twardy that he feels will serve Haldane well. “I was most impressed by his work ethic, passion for working in an education setting, his strong knowledge of both cleaning and maintenance, and his leadership abilities,” Villanti said.
Twardy lives in Pawling.