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Valley Central mourns former superintendent

October 10th, 2012

Dr. William F. Moran, who guided the Valley Central School District through its early years, died Oct. 4. He was 87.

Moran was born in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 1, 1925. He attended Manhattan College before receiving his master’s degree from the City University of New York and his doctorate in education from Fordham University. His teaching career began at Tappan Zee High School in Piermont, NY, where he was later promoted to assistant principal.

In 1963, Moran was hired as the new principal of Valley Central High School before taking over as superintendent a short time later. Richard Jansen, a Valley Central High School graduate and former school board president, said Moran’s leadership abilities were put to the test almost immediately since he was hired not long after the three local villages united to form a centralized school district.

“It was a tough time in the school district’s history and [Moran] is the one that really brought everyone together,” Jansen said. “He was the right person at the right time for Valley Central.”

During Moran’s nearly 20 years as superintendent, Valley Central grew to the point where it was once the fifth largest school district in the country. He was also responsible for tripling the rate of students who acquired a Regents Diploma and turning Valley Central athletics into a powerful force throughout Orange County.

Dr. Richard Hooley, Valley Central’s current superintendent said Moran’s impact on the school district was huge.

“Dr. Moran was the longest sitting Valley Central superintendent in memory and was well respected by both the staff and community,” he said. “When he came to us he brought with him several young teachers who were a big part of making Valley Central the school district that it is.”

After his retirement, Moran went on to serve as the executive director of both the Mid Hudson School Study Council and the New York State School Boards Association, representing the interests of students and teachers across the state. His passion for athletics and the value of competition also led him to serve as Section IX’s first executive director; a position he held for 16 years. He was inducted into the NYS Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

He also served as interim superintendent in the Pine Bush School District in 1986, and was a consultant to the district during the renovation of the Crispell Middle School in the late 1980s.

Harvey Gregory, a former Valley Central teacher and administrator, said he was proud to have worked under a superintendent who understood the needs of the children and supported new education programs.

“He also knew the financial capabilities of the community and presented budgets that the community could support,” said Gregory. “He frequently visited each school and it was not unusual in those tours to have him stop in your classroom to see how things were going or to ask how your family was doing.”

Gregory said another great memory of Moran was playing basketball with him on Thursday evenings.

“These were pick-up games with various teachers from the district and some administrators,” he explained. “While Dr. Moran didn’t play every week, when he did play you could always expect the unexpected from him. Here was our honorable educational leader grabbing your shirt or pulling your shorts down as you went past him. When you turned around to complain all you saw was him looking at you with a giant smile on his face. While he loved the game he also loved to have fun.”

Gregory said Moran helped create the foundation for what Valley Central is today.

“He was a great person and a wonderful educational leader,” he said. “We will all miss him.”

By Jessica Murray

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