The board of education for Greece Central School District recently approved the appointment of Michael Zaffuts as assistant superintendent for student achievement and educational services, and Jeffrey Henley as principal of Odyssey Academy.
Zaffuts comes to Greece from Hilton Central School District, where he has worked since 2011 and is the learning through technology director. The 16-year educator previously was an assistant principal at Hilton High School and started his career as a social studies teacher in Rochester City School District.
Kathleen Graupman, superintendent of GCSD, said Zaffuts was selected for his passion, skill and vision.
“Dr. Zaffuts was selected because of his rich understanding and work with systems thinking, as well as his depth of knowledge related to equity and culturally responsive education,” she said. “Mike brings balance to our team in terms of background, training and experience. He has successful leadership experience and I am sure that he will be a great fit.”
Zaffuts will oversee various areas, including special education; student support services; Phoenix Academy, the district’s alternative school; the Professional Learning Center; and the district’s mental health support team.
“I am thrilled and honored to accept this position and I understand the critical nature of the work,” Zaffuts said. “I am most eager to join the cultural journey that Greece Central has embarked on with regard to equity, social emotional learning, response to intervention and culturally responsive pedagogy. This commitment is tremendously important to all students, and I’m looking forward to partnering with Greece stakeholders to ensure we’re doing whatever we can to strengthen that culture in the district.”
Zaffuts holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo, a master’s degree and certificate of advanced study in education administration from The College at Brockport, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Rochester. He recently completed the state superintendent development program at SUNY Oswego.
Zaffuts has served on numerous committees and improvement teams. He has experience in long-range planning, budgeting, curriculum writing and technology integration, as well as positive behavioral interventions and supports.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a variety of experiences in my career, including teaching and leading in a large urban setting, and serving as a school administrator and instructional director in a suburban setting,” Zaffuts said. “These responsibilities provided the opportunity to collaborate with a breadth of wonderful people across contexts, and resulted in some really unique and innovative student and staff experiences. I will make it a priority to listen carefully for opportunities where my background might provide a fresh perspective and augment the wide variety of challenging, yet necessary, work taking place in Greece.”
Zaffuts will start his new role with Greece CSD on Dec. 10.
Henley has served as acting principal at Odyssey since the beginning of the school year. He previously was an assistant principal at Odyssey Academy, and worked in the district as the coordinator of social studies and executive director of instructional technology and strategic initiatives. Henley started his educational career as a history teacher working in the Penfield and Manchester-Shortsville school districts.
Kathryn Colicchio, assistant superintendent, said Henley was selected to permanently fill the role of principal because he is a proven leader with a vision for success.
“Dr. Henley has a genuine warmth about him that immediately puts people at ease,” she said. “We are excited to have him move into the role as the principal where he will apply his strong relational skills with his instructional expertise to a school community for which he cares deeply.”
Henley said he is excited to lead Odyssey, which he calls a second family, and is committed to ensuring that teachers and students are safe and supported. His initial focus is on relationship building and fostering trust through transparent, open communication.
“It’s those relationships that will help me carry Odyssey forward as we re-establish our focus on strong instructional practice in the classroom,” Henley said.
As principal, he wants to improve rigor and hold all students to high standards. Programs like Advancement via Individual Determination, Henley believes, will help close the achievement gap.
“I want all Odyssey classrooms to reflect what Greece is: a diverse district where all students can achieve,” Henley said.