Raymond Delaney Had ‘Unshakeable Belief’ in Public Education

  • Considered by many as the dean of local superintendents, Raymond Delaney proudly led the Rush-Henrietta Central School District for two decades. He remains the district’s longest-serving superintendent, leading our school community from 1971 to 1990.

    Born in 1927, Delaney served in the United States Air Force before becoming a science teacher in Westchester County. In 1971, he came to Rush-Henrietta, where he served with distinction during some very challenging years. For example, he helped navigate a growing student population in the 1970s, and then helped guide our school community as enrollment began to drop. These tough decisions included recommending the closure of several schools. He is pictured here with the original Parker Administration Building, in which he worked.

    Those who knew Delaney described him as a mentor, scholar, and taskmaster. He believed in local control - believing decisions should be made closer to the people they impact - and was a strong supporter of music and arts in our schools. The Arts Alive! Raymond R. Delaney Arts Recognition Award was established in his honor and still exists today.

    In 1990, days after retiring, Delaney died of malignant melanoma. Ernie Auerbacher, assistant superintendent of business, served as acting superintendent until the district hired Robert McKanna, who became superintendent in January 1991.

    At the time of his retirement, the 62-year-old Delaney was the president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. That high-profile leadership position was evidence of how widely our district leader was respected. To this day, the organization still gives the Raymond R. Delaney Annual Memorial Scholarship in memory of its past president. The award goes to an individual enrolled in a graduate study program through which a School District Administrator certificate or doctoral degree may be earned.

    Upon Delaney’s death, the Democrat and Chronicle spoke to Al Hawk, then-president of the Monroe County School Boards Association. Hawk described Delaney as “a very fine and knowledgeable person who worked with people at all levels extremely well.”

    Mary Salisbury was the president of the Rush-Henrietta Board of Education when Delaney died. She shared her assessment of the longtime superintendent in a Democrat and Chronicle story on April 30, 1990.

    “He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an unshakeable belief in the ability of public education to nurture the dreams and aspirations of young people, and the determination to ensure that every child in his district be treated fairly and with respect.”

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