Rockland BOCES is pleased to announce the selection of current Executive Director of Adult Education and Continuing Education Christopher D’Ambrese to serve as the new Rockland BOCES District Superintendent.The Rockland BOCES Board of Education formally appointed Mr. D’Ambrese during its regular January 25 meeting in West Nyack. Chris will start in his new role on March 1, 2023.
“During the search process, board members were very impressed with Mr. D’Ambrese’s leadership style,” said Board of Education President Rosemary Pitruzzella. “He brings a breadth of experience and knowledge that will strengthen our collaborative leadership model and enhance the unique programs and services we provide. Chris has an impressive track record of developing solutions to many of the challenges facing public education, bringing together diverse stakeholders to advance our strategic priorities in inclusive and collaborative ways. He will be an extraordinary asset to our Central Administration.”
As District Superintendent, Mr. D’Ambrese will serve as the local representative of the New York State Commissioner of Education by assisting local school districts in the implementation of the New York State Education Law and the interpretation of the Commissioner’s Regulations and rules of the Board of Regents.
Unique to Rockland BOCES, a collaborative leadership model allows the District Superintendent and the Chief Operating Officer to work jointly in assuring that programs and services provided by the BOCES agency are of outstanding quality and meet student and family, as well as school district needs. Additionally, the District Superintendent assists component school districts in the recruitment and selection of school superintendents, as needed. The District Superintendent is accountable to the nine-member Rockland BOCES Board of Education.
“I am eager to work with the Board of Education, the Chief Operating Officer, the New York State Department of Education and component school district leadership to advance the strategic vision for innovation and growth that will best serve our students and families,” said Mr. D’Ambrese. “Rockland BOCES is an outstanding and vibrant organization that is improving the lives of students in Rockland County and beyond. I am committed to listening to all voices and working in partnership with our families, staff, school districts and community partners.”
Mr. D’Ambrese succeeds District Superintendent Sarah Chauncey, who accepted a position as superintendent of schools in Fulton County, New York.
The search for a new district superintendent began last fall with the vacancy being listed with national and state professional organizations and advertised in several print and digital publications. Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES District Superintendent James M. Ryan. Ed. D. worked with the Rockland BOCES Board of Education as a consultant during the search process. Mr. D’Ambrese was one of three finalists considered for the position.
Mr. D’Ambrese also recently met with the New York State Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa for a final interview and assessment of his qualifications and experience. As BOCES district superintendents act as the regional representative of the Commissioner of Education, the approval of the Commissioner is required before a BOCES board can appoint a final candidate.
Mr. D’Ambrese’s three-decades-long career in public schools began as a special education teacher in the Onteora Central School District in Ulster County. After moving on to the Highland Central School District, he served the dual role of special education teacher and department chair at Highland High School.
After a decade at Highland High School, Mr. D’Ambrese moved to Orange-Ulster BOCES, where he supervised the incarcerated education program within Orange County Jail, the adult career training/continuing education programs, adult ESL-GED programs and worked directly with the Orange County One-Stop and Orange Community College in the development of literacy and employment/training opportunities for the adult residents of Orange County.
In 2015, Mr. D’Ambrese became the Director of Adult Education at Rockland BOCES, where he led the Adult Education Division and worked closely with Rockland Community College in providing literacy, employment and post-secondary opportunities to adult residents of Rockland County.
In 2019, Chris was elevated to Executive Director of Adult Education, adding supervision of Hudson-Valley P-TECH, Regional Night High School and Rockland Works (formerly the Rockland County Career Center).
As part of his leadership roles at Rockland BOCES, Mr. D’Ambrese has worked closely with component school districts, state and county departments and local nonprofit agencies in providing transitional post-secondary and employment opportunities to local youth and adult populations.
Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the State University of New York at New Paltz, a Master of Science degree in Special and Elementary Education from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh and a Certificate of Advanced Study, Educational Administration from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.