Mancuso Named President of School Board

Leslie Mancuso

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Longtime trustee Leslie Mancuso has been named the new president of the Mahopac Board of Education.

She will take the reins during a turbulent time. The district is currently in the midst of a search for a new principal for the middle school after the surprising departure of beloved Principal Vince DiGrandi. The school board must also begin a search for a new superintendent after Dr. Dennis Creedon announced last week he will serve out the remainder of his contract and then step down after the 2017-18 school year. The district is also in the throes of a somewhat contentious collective bargaining agreement with the United School Workers of Mahopac (USWOM), which has been working without a contract for more than a year. Additionally, the district is about to take on two huge capital improvement projects—one to repair roofs on three buildings, and the other to upgrade the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the district.
But Mancuso is unruffled by all that and ready to hit the ground running.

“I am so excited, thrilled and honored that they have faith in me with all the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” she told Mahopac News.
She called DiGrandi’s departure “heartbreaking.”

Sign Up for E-News

“It was devastating to the board and the town and students,” she said. “He has done so much good in the school. We were hoping he would stay; we tried to keep him, but at the end of the day he felt he had to do what was right for his family. You can’t fault him for that; you have to respect it. But the door is always open for him to come back.”
She said she was optimistic the district will find a good candidate to replace him.

“It’s big shoes to fill but there are a lot of people out there who want to come to Mahopac,” she said. “There is only one Vince but there are opportunities out there for people we haven’t met yet.”

With DiGrandi leaving after just four years and Creedon departing after three, Mancuso said the days of long-term contracts for administrators may be over.
“Ideally, you would like long-term for the stability it brings,” she said. “But time changes things and you have no control over it. You would love to have people stay longer, but you can’t read their minds.”

Mancuso had praise for Creedon, who got much accomplished, she said, during his brief tenure.

“He’s a gentleman and he really enjoyed his time here but he is going in a different direction in his life,” she said. “We appreciate all he has done and look forward to all he still can get done because he is going to be with us for another year.”

Mancuso also said that reaching an accord with the union is at the top of her to-do list.

“We are currently working on that to facilitate the conversation and get it resolved,” she said. “We appreciate our drivers and aides and groundskeepers. It has gone on too long and it’s big on our to-do list. We have made it a priority. I am president for two weeks and we are talking about it already. The negotiations had broken down and we are fixing that communication and building a bridge.”

Mancuso said she also wants to see the district drive toward improving its use of technology both as a teaching tool and as a subject, continue.

“We need to give the students the things they need to be world ready,” she said. “Technology—we need to keep up with it and keep them competitive in the global world.”

She would also like to see AP classes expand and explore possible opportunities in the healthcare fields. She also said the district needs to look more toward hiring alumni.
“We need to focus on giving our alums their first break,” she said. “If we can’t give them their first job and support them, shame on us. We don’t hire many of our alum and we need to make that extra effort.”

Mancuso has been a Mahopac resident for 21 years. She’s been married 22 years to her husband, Nick, and mother of two children. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Hunter College.

Mancuso has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years and is currently director of development for the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic in Ossining. She’s been a member of the board for six years.

“We have the best and brightest students and we need to support them better,” she said. “I intend to continue to improve our curriculum offerings and keep up with technology in today’s marketplace. I plan to do right in our negotiations with the contracts that are up for renewal.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness