A school superintendent from the Hudson Valey is the first superintendent from the region to be named a Superintendent of the Year.

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Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Dr. Roberto Padilla, was named the 2021 New York State Superintendent of the Year by the New York State Council of School Superintendents.

“This is a phenomenal achievement for Newburgh,” Padilla said in a press release. He added “Over the last seven years, we have had the NYS Teacher of the Year and the National CTE Teacher of the Year. From the moment I stepped foot in the district, it was abundantly clear, we have exceptional talent here! We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district. It truly takes a team to achieve success and I am excited that this is just the beginning.”

Padilla is the first superintendent to win the award from Orange County and from the upper mid-Hudson region, officials say.

“Selection as the New York State Superintendent of the Year is a testament to Dr. Padilla's unwavering commitment to students. As a champion for equity and access, Dr. Padilla's leadership is a model for leaders across the New York State," Council President and Palmyra-Macedon Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike said.

Padilla leads a district of approximately 2,000 employees, 1100 teachers, 12,000 scholars, 14 school buildings spread throughout four municipalities and manages an operating budget of $287 million, officials say.

It's believed a number of key initiatives helped Padilla earn the honor. They include:

  • Hiring a Chief Equity Officer to ensure all 12,000 scholars receive breakfast and lunch at no cost regardless of their zip code and socioeconomic status
  • Starting two additional high school campuses: NFA West and NFA Noche
  • Bringing Boston Basics to Newburgh that helps ensure all scholars enter Pre-K prepared to learn at the same level as their peers
  • Helping pass a $257 million bond referendum, the largest in New York State, to improve all school buildings and build a state-of-the-art facility for the 23 Career and Technical Education programs offered in the district.
  • Creating the largest energy performance contract of any New York school district which is expected to provide an annual savings of $1.3M in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases by 60%.

Padilla is a Newburgh Free Academy graduate who grew up in a bad area of the City of Newburgh, sources told Hudson Valley Post. It was reportedly Padilla’s dream job to become superintendent in Newburgh in hopes of improving his hometown.