Haldane Hires New Superintendent

Coming from Arlington district, where he was deputy

By Chip Rowe

The Haldane school board has named an administrator from Dutchess County as the district’s new superintendent.

Philip Benante will succeed Diana Bowers, who plans to retire on June 30 after four years in the Haldane position. Benante has been the deputy superintendent of the Arlington Central School District in Lagrangeville for the past five years.

Philip Benante addresses the board on May 1. (Visual Touch Media)

Benante, 38, who has been with the district for 15 years, has also been a fifth-grade teacher, an elementary school principal and an assistant principal at the high school in the Arlington district, which is about 10 times larger than Haldane.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Benante join us,” said school board President Laura Hammond at the Tuesday (May 1) meeting, after the hire was announced. He will begin July 1.

In an email, Hammond said the board was impressed by Benante because he already has experience as a superintendent, as well as “a strong curriculum background, experience with K-12 and a thorough and thoughtful entry plan.” He also is “motivated and student-centered,” she wrote.

Source: State Department of Education (data.nysed.gov), 2016-17

Addressing the board on May 1, Benante said, “To say I’m excited is an understatement.” He said during the search process he had observed that Philipstown was “a close-knit community” that “prides itself on an enriching academic experience.”

“You’ve given me an incredible opportunity,” he said. “I would expect you to expect a lot of me.”

In an interview on Thursday, Benante added that he plans to “spend a lot of time listening and meeting with people both inside — teachers, staff, board, students, parents —and outside of the schools — business owners, residents, faith leaders — to hear about their experience and how we can strengthen and build upon those relationships.”

Asked about the challenges of moving to a much smaller district, he said, “sometimes smaller school districts are faced with unique challenges as far as resources. I’ll work closely with Dr. Bowers and Laura Hammond to understand the dynamics.”

Pamela Doan contributed reporting.

3 thoughts on “Haldane Hires New Superintendent

  1. I look forward to joining the Haldane Central School District community as superintendent on July 1. I have visited each of the schools and been introduced to many students, faculty, staff and administrators. I could not have asked for a more gracious welcome. Thank you to Superintendent Diana Bowers and school board President Laura Hammond for facilitating the visit.

    The selection process and my visits to the area have affirmed how much the community cares for the experiences that students have while at Haldane. It is my hope that you will find me to be approachable, thoughtful and student-centered. I look forward to working with parents to ensure that students meet Haldane’s high academic standards while balancing those demands to make certain they have an enriching social and emotional experience, as well.

    In the coming months I will be meeting with a cross-section of community members to “hit the ground learning.” I have asked for the entry plan that I developed for the board to be posted at haldaneschool.org. Transparency is important to me and I want the community to have a sense of how I plan to approach my initial work.

    My wife, Kerri, and our two sons, Cole and Luke, look forward to meeting many more members of the Haldane community in the near future.