Board appoints new executive director for preschool and special education

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education has hired a long-time F-M building administrator to serve as its Executive Director of Special Education and Early Childhood Initiatives. 

On May 9, the board appointed Melissa Corbin to the new position effective July 1. Corbin has served as Wellwood Middle School principal since 2010 and was its assistant principal from 2006-2010. If a new principal is not in place to lead Wellwood by July 1, Corbin will continue providing building leadership until a new principal is selected. 

“This new role will allow me to more directly support the students in our special education program, their families and our staff,” Corbin said. “I’m also looking forward to working with our community preschool partners in serving our youngest learners as they develop a solid educational background through the district’s new prekindergarten program.” 

The district created the new executive director position partially in response to the addition of its new full-day universal prekindergarten program that will begin fall 2022. The district is partnering with three community-based organizations for the 2022-23 school year to host the program: Hal Welsh East Area Family YMCA, Manlius YMCA and Shining Stars. 

In her new role, Corbin will be responsible for acting as the liaison between the district and its preschool partners, collaborating with the district’s elementary principals to adjust and inform programming to meet the needs of incoming elementary students and partnering with the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction on decisions regarding early childhood curriculum and interventions. 

In the area of special education, Corbin’s responsibilities will include serving as the chairperson for Committee on Special Education (CSE) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) meetings, staying abreast of all CSE and CPSE regulations and laws, assisting in the direction and management of all special education programs and services and supporting staff in the accomplishment of special education goals. 

“We are excited for Melissa to bring her wealth of administrative expertise to support our special education department and preschool initiative,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “Melissa’s familiarity with our special education program through her role as a principal will complement the work our assistant superintendent for special services is doing to support our students with disabilities. Mrs. Corbin will also be working closely with our elementary school principals to ensure our students have a smooth transition from prekindergarten to kindergarten.”

The executive director position reports to the assistant superintendent for special services and the assistant superintendent for instruction. 

Shifting Responsibilities

Currently, District Psychologist Becky Hartman-Wade has been chairing CSE and CPSE meetings and working on administrative tasks. With Corbin taking over that role, Hartman-Wade, who has an expertise in behavior modification and management, will be freed up to directly work with students, teachers and principals across the district when there is a need for additional support.

Amy Evans, the district’s assistant superintendent for special services, has been filling that direct support role when needed. This restructuring will enable her to focus more on developing new special education programming and enhancing the services the district already has in place.