Midlakes names new superintendent

PHELPS — After 12 years as a high school principal in the capital region, Matthew Sickles is ready for the next chapter in his career.

As superintendent of the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District.

Sickles was appointed to the position at Monday’s school board meeting. He succeeds Jamie Farr, who left Midlakes to become superintendent of the Canandaigua City School District.

“My family and I are truly excited and honored to join the Phelps-Clifton Springs community,” Sickles said. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the students, staff and community as we continue to promote and support the district’s vision of improving educational outcomes for our students.”

Sickles is a graduate of Hoosic Valley High School in Rensselaer County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena College and a master’s in teaching from Union College. He later completed graduate studies in educational administration from The College of St. Rose and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and attended the New York state superintendent development program.

He started his career as a history teacher at Shenendehowa High School, later becoming history department chair. He later served as assistant principal at what is known as Shen High, a huge school with more than 700 graduates per year.

“It was my first taste of leadership and administration, and I really fell in love with it,” he said.

However, wanting to get back to a smaller district, he took a position as principal at nearby Schuylerville High School in Saratoga County. He has been there for 12 years.

“I graduated in a class of 92 students, and knew Schuylerville because when I was at Hoosic Valley we played them in sports. Schuylerville has a great reputation,” Sickles said. “I have been blessed for 12 years. It’s sad to leave. It’s been family and home, but it’s time to take the next step in my career. I’ve been very particular about where I wanted to go, and I’m confident I have found the right fit in Midlakes. It has a real community feel.”

Sickles and his wife, Laurie, have two daughters. Abby will be a freshman this fall at State University College at Geneseo while Ella will be a sophomore at Midlakes.

Sickles’ contract at Midlakes begins Sept. 1. Following Monday’s school board meeting, he spent Tuesday in the district and said he planned to look at homes in the area over the weekend.

“On behalf of the Phelps-Clifton Springs Board of Education, we would like to sincerely thank all those who supported and participated in this process,” board President Ryan Davis said on the school district’s website. “We are confident that Mr. Sickles’ leadership will enrich the academic and school experience of our students, and we are very grateful to everyone who helped us arrive at this decision, including dedicated staff, students and community members.”

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