Norman superintendent will retire at school year’s end (The Oklahoman)

By Jane Glenn Cannon

NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano said his decision to retire in June did not come easy.

“This extremely rewarding profession has afforded me the opportunity to work alongside many outstanding individuals whom I greatly respect and admire. Serving in Norman has been a great privilege and certainly the highlight of my career,” Siano said.

Siano announced his plans to retire, effective June 30, at a Monday night school board meeting. He has been an educator for 40 years and head of the Norman district since 2000.

“This summer marks an important transitional period for our district,” Siano said. “Our budget is strong and stable, our current bond issue projects will be complete, and it will be time to begin working toward a new slate of instructional and capital initiatives.”

He added, “I believe this will be the most opportune time for a new leader to step into the role. My goal is to provide a seamless transition and by announcing retirement plans now, the board of education will have adequate time to conduct a thorough search.”

School Board President Dan Snell said the board will begin a search soon for Siano’s replacement.

“Dr. Siano has been a valued leader in public education in our state and nation, and our district has been fortunate to have him guide us,” Snell said. “His vision has maximized our bonding clout and his leadership in the community and in the profession has been unparalleled. He has said and done the right thing in a variety of very difficult situations, and Norman Schools will owe him a tremendous debt even after he leaves his post.”

Snell said Siano puts students first, even in the face of steep statewide budget cuts.

“Dr. Siano reminded us that students only have one year to be in their current grade level and their experience should not suffer when state funding falls short. He has led us to strive to provide every student the ‘best year ever’ each and every year. We will all be sad to see him go, as he has made us all stronger and better at what we do.”

Siano began his career as a classroom teacher. As a professional educator, he later assumed leadership roles in Putnam City Public Schools, where he served as a principal, director of elementary education and an assistant superintendent. He also held an assistant superintendent position at Oklahoma City Public Schools before ultimately joining Norman Public Schools in 2000 as superintendent.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to live and work in an incredible community, where people care deeply about public education,” Siano said.

Siano said he plans to remain in Norman and stay active in public education and local community service initiatives. He also said he will stay focused on his current role, and supporting students and staff.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” Siano said. “Maintaining and enhancing our services to students will continue to be my top priority through the school year.”

Currently, Siano also serves on the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators and Oklahoma Policy Institute’s board of directors. He also has been asked to provide insight on numerous statewide educational committees and has served as president of the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators.

Siano’s commitment to students has been recognized across the state and nation. He has been honored several times as Administrator of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators and the Oklahoma Music Educators Association.

He also was named Superintendent of the Year by the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education and has received the University Council of Educational Administration’s Excellence in Education Award. The University of Central Oklahoma honored him in 2011 with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and he has served as a National Ambassador for the American Association of School Librarians.

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