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SCSD Superintendent Jaime Alicea to retire at end of school year

SCSD Superintendent Jaime Alicea speaks to students at Clary Middle School on the first day of school.
John Smith
SCSD Superintendent Jaime Alicea speaks to students at Clary Middle School on the first day of school.

Syracuse Superintendent Jaime Alicea will retire at the end of this school year. In a statement today, the SCSD Board of Education thanked Alicea for his nearly six years in the role.

Alicea has been with the district for over 39 years. He started in 1983 as a teaching assistant. He served as a teacher, vice-principal, principal, area superintendent, deputy superintendent for instruction and chief operations officer before taking the role as superintendent. During his tenure, graduation rates increased, new CTE programs were created and the steam high school planning started.

The Board of Education said they’ll share more details on their planned search for a new superintendent shortly.

The Board's full statement is below:

It is with deep admiration and appreciation for his over 39 years of service to the Syracuse City School District that we announce the intent of the Superintendent of Schools, Jaime Alicea to retire at the end of this school year. Superintendent Alicea will have completed nearly 6 years of strong leadership of the Syracuse City School District and we are all grateful for his dedicated service.

Superintendent Alicea joined the Syracuse City School District as a Teaching Assistant in 1983, moving up to become a Teacher, Vice Principal, then Principal, Area Superintendent in 2000, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, and later Chief Operations Officer, ultimately earning the role of Superintendent in August, 2016. Under his steady leadership the District has seen great improvement in its graduation rates, numerous capital improvements, development of new CTE Programs, and the creation of the STEAM High School. He faced the many challenges of the pandemic with the safety and well-being of the students and staff as his primary focus, working tirelessly to adapt to changing requirements and meeting the needs of the District. While spending many nights and weekends addressing the District’s challenges and moving the District forward, he has always found the time to engage the community, attend sporting events and student performances, and to greet everyone with a smile.

Mr. Alicea also served on several local boards and committees, including the Onondaga County Public Library Strategic Planning Committee, Youth Leadership Greater Syracuse Founding Committee, New York State Education Department Assessment Committee, New York State Reimagine Education Committee. He currently serves on the Gifford Foundation Board of Directors, Blueprint 15, the Syracuse Surge Strategy, Onondaga County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence Steering Committee and the Onondaga Community College Board of Trustees.

Through his many years of dedicated service, Mr. Alicea has been recognized as the Latino Educator of the Year by ANCLA, the Latino Educator by Nosotros Radio and has received the NAACP Community Service Award, the YWCA Academy of Diversity Achievers Award, and more. He was recently recognized as one of The 2021 Education Power 100 and the Power of Diversity: Latino 100 by City and State New York and by Syracuse University with the Chancellor’s Citation for Public Education as an advocate and leader.

The Board of Education is committed to maintaining the high educational standard Superintendent Alicea has established in the district. Consequently, the Board will appropriately plan and execute a Superintendent search. We will share with the community that process as we move along. Today, however, we would like to celebrate Superintendent Alicea for his unwavering dedication to the District, thank him for his years of service, and wish him a happy and healthy future retirement.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at