Experienced Principal, Certified Lead Evaluator, and School Curriculum Specialist in Hyde Park, NY
- Karen and I have been married for nearly 30 years
- We have one daughter. Liana is starting her senior year at the University of Albany
- I've been an educator since 1987 when I started teaching
- After teaching Middle and High School Math and Science at South Seneca Central Schools I decided to enter the world of educational leadership
- In 2002 we moved to Whispering Pines, North Carolina where I went to work as an Assistant Principal at North Moore High School in Robbins, NC
- Karen, Liana and I moved back to New York in 2004 to be close to Karen's family and so I could begin my job as Principal at Webutuck High School
- Webutuck is a wonderful school with dedicated staff, supportive parents, and situated in the beautiful Harlem Valley of Dutchess County
- We stayed at Webutuck until 2007 when we had the urge to get closer to our home on Seneca Lake so we moved to Brockport, NY where I took the reins of Oliver Middle School. WOW....what a place! It was great to be back where I had grown up and to be near my family
- In 2010 Webutuck called me and asked if I would consider returning. Graduation rates had fallen, Karen's dad was approaching his 90's and the winters in western New York were harder than I remembered. So we came back
- After a few short years and a wonderful team effort, graduation rates once again climbed to above 90% and Webutuck was again labeled a High Performing/Gap Closing school. Boy it is rewarding to find professional success!
- Liana had a wonderful High School experience running indoor track for a season, and playing softball throughout those four years. She graduated in the top 10% of her class and went to Albany with a STEM Scholarship as a pre-med major. While in High School she had the opportunity to travel to Europe with me and students from Webutuck. We visited Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. Several years later she went with students from FDR High School and traveled to France and Spain
- In 2014 I took the reins of Webutuck Elementary School to deal with the fact that 80-90% of our students leaving 3rd grade were not reading at grade level. It was clear that a change in leadership as well as instructional practice was needed to improve these results. It was an intense period.
- I moved back to Webutuck High School in 2017 after three successful years at the elementary level and realized I was hungry for a change, some new surroundings, and some professional intellectual challenges
- Students from Webutuck on Mt. Pilatus outside of Geneva, Switzerland. Local legend says that Pontius Pilate was buried on this mountain following his death.
- In the summer of 2017 Karen and I took the trip of a lifetime when we traveled to Amsterdam then Africa
- Amsterdam was beautiful! I'm not exceptionally tall at 6'1" but I felt short there where the average height of men is 6'4"
- After 3 days in Amsterdam we flew to Tanzania where, after a good night's sleep we met our guide for the first part of the trip
- We spent a few days in Arusha before heading out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro....the Roof of Africa Below are pictures of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is known for many things. Canals are a major means of transportation as well as the movement of goods. Dutch artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh were showcased in the national museum. Of course, bicycles are the main mode of transportation with reportedly more bikes than people can be found in Amsterdam. We saw the Ann Frank house. What an inspirational young lady
Our Travels (continued)
Following are pictures of some of the city of Arusha, Tanzania followed by some pictures taken on safari on the Great Serengeti Plain
Tanzania is drastically different than the sights found in Europe. It is a third world country with many western amenities to be found. There was internet though which allowed us to share our adventures with family and friends via the internet and cell phones. We actually saw a number of Maasai warriors with their cell phone in hand as they herded their livestock. Lots of fresh fruit could be found even though July is their "winter". The compound in which we stayed was about 25 miles outside of Arusha and had all the amenities of home plus some added benefits like colobus monkeys and anopheles mosquitoes.... no need to worry, we had anti-malarial medicines. Fresh fish from Lake Victoria was available and the compound had its own herb garden for fresh herbs and spices.
Our Travels (continued)
- After a few days in Amsterdam, a few more days in Arusha we headed for the roof of Africa...Kilimanjaro!
- More pictures can be seen at; https://www.nikonimagespace.com/conf/login/LoginInit.do?utm_source=001&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=a901
- You'll be asked for my email address which is: email@example.com and the password for me to log on to this Nikon site is Judy0706. Enjoy!!!
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was physically challenging but "do-able". Our guides were quick to remind us to go slowly. In the native language, Swahili, "pole, pole" (pronounced polie, polie) means slowly, slowly. We summited on our 7th day just after sunrise on July 4th. It really was a fantastic experience!!
I have been an educator for more than 30 years and have experience working at all levels of the k-12 educational spectrum I have wonderful opportunities to witness the benefits of having coherent, well-articulated curriculum coupled with consistent instruction that is both stimulating and engaging of all learners.
As a classroom teacher teaching in the South Seneca Central School District in Ovid, NY I worked closely with other members of the Math and Science departments to align our various curricula from Elementary, through Middle and then High School. This effort of creating a scope and sequence that presented a coherent and consistent schedule for what concepts would be taught in what grade levels and created a spiraled curricular approach that improved student outcomes at all levels was a daunting task. With administrative support, in the late 1990’s I took the initiative to revamp my 7th grade Math curriculum to make it project based that expected students to achieve mastery in the 80 or so identified “Key Concept Areas”. This approach proved to be highly successful and resulted in improved Regents exam scores.
When doing my administrative internship at The Montessori School of Ithaca was tasked with writing to codify the Primary and Junior Level Practical Life, Math, Science, and Literacy curricula to reflect the pioneering work originally done by Maria Montessori. This experience gave me important foundational knowledge into how literacy and numeracy are taught. More importantly, it provided me with great insights into how the developing minds of elementary school-aged children learned these essential skills and a great appreciation for the challenges that elementary school teachers face.
As an Assistant Principal in North Carolina I accepted willingly the responsibility of coordinating North Moore High School’s SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and School) accreditation. This multi-year process is mandated for public schools in order to maintain their accreditation. This process required us to analyze end of year and end of course test data and revise curriculum and instruction in response to the data analysis. Also during my time in North Carolina, I conducted staff development training on implementing Johnson and Johnson’s model of Cooperative Learning which ultimately improved instruction across many curricular areas as we led the entire staff away from making use of predominately teacher centered instructional methods to a more student centered, cooperative learning based model.
During my time as a Middle School Principal in Brockport I worked closely with our Technology teachers to implement the program Project Lead the Way. This program was pivotal in transforming traditional “shop class” into a project based, cooperative experience where students not only learned about safety (a primary focus when working with power tools) but more importantly, they learned how to work collaboratively in small groups thereby improving their communication and interpersonal skills.
Over the 10+ years I have spent as a principal in the Webutuck School District I have participated in and lead/facilitated many curricular initiatives impacting the alignment and delivery of instruction in the core area subjects. New standards have been released from NYS and staff need to not only be made aware of these new standards but need time to process and assimilate these new standards into their respective curricula and instruction.
Of course, I believe the greatest impact I can have on improving instruction is through the observation process. I take great pride in being highly visible and throughout my administrative career teachers would say that I am a regular daily visitor in most classrooms. Informal daily classroom visits help me to: 1. build rapport with teachers and students alike, 2. Proactively address potential conflicts by keeping a finger on the pulse of student/student and student/teacher interactions, and 3. Gain a more holistic view of every teachers’ instructional strengths as well as areas of potential improvement. For me, the post observation conference following the formal observation is lengthy and can take an hour or more as the teacher and I dissect and reflect all that went well as well as areas that the teacher and I feel might have gone better. By using a Cognitive Coaching approach, the teacher and I engage in discussion about instructional strategies, pedagogy, and assessment. This practice is time well spent because it is contractually, the only formalized time we have together to engage in reflective practice as it relates to instructional practice.
It should go without saying that good instruction is predicated on coherent curriculum that is aligned both horizontally and vertically. As education evolves we should be conducting regular reviews of our curriculum and instruction by analyzing both formal and informal assessment data. I believe a coherent staff development plan that is developed collaboratively by teachers, staff, and administrators every year is a cornerstone that must be in place for teachers and schools to grow personally and professionally as we seek to improve our pedagogy as well as student outcomes.
In closing, I am a life-long learner over 30 years of experience both in the classroom and as a principal. At various times during my career, both as a teacher and an administrator, I have championed the cause of revising, re-writing, and updating curricula in all subject areas becoming a school curriculum specialist. This is truly an exciting time to be in education and I look forward to being a part of the changes that confront us as educators as well as the children with whom we work. I'm proud of my experience and am confident in my expertise, collaborative leadership and ability to work with all stakeholders to create and perpetuate a culture of improvement with regards to curricula and instruction culminating in graduates that are college and career ready.