Safety, students and learning will be the primary focus of my decisions as I work together with the school community.
To the Herkimer Central School District community,
I’m a lifelong Herkimer resident, attended school here, began my teaching career at the elementary and served as elementary principal for 13 years. Nonetheless, this school year starts a new chapter for me at Herkimer, as I step into the role of superintendent.
My transition into the superintendency includes four phases:
- Phase one: Listen and understand
- Phase two: Learn and connect
- Phase three: Plan and develop
- Phase four: Lead and support
Students and learning will remain at the forefront of any decision that I’ll make. What is best for students will always be my primary focus. I’ve found that if you stay the course for why you are making decisions, you will earn people’s respect even if they disagree with some of your decisions. I will continue to work to earn people’s respect and trust in this new leadership role.
This summer, I began building relationships by meeting with various stakeholders, visiting summer school classes in the Elementary School, attending a Village of Herkimer meeting and going to community events such as the Downtown Chowdown. I have also had an opportunity to meet with New York State Commissioner of Education Betty A. Rosa in Albany to advocate for our school community.
As a supporter of lifelong learning, I too am continuing my growth through superintendent workshops. I’ve been networking with area superintendents and new superintendents across the state to develop relationships that will help me serve the district.
Focusing on safety
The safety of students and staff is a priority for me, as well as for parents/guardians.
Over the summer, our administrative team has worked closely with the Herkimer Police Department to review and update our safety plans and protocols. That includes our internal systems and building-level safety plans. We are fortunate to have two school resource officers in the district – one at each building – who are members of the Herkimer Police Department. This allows our students to connect with law enforcement in a positive and proactive manner.
In addition to meeting with the Herkimer Police Department and Herkimer fire chief, I also met with the Herkimer BOCES Safety Office to review school protocol, services offered and regulations that may affect a school district.
It’s vital to me that we continue to build upon our strong partnership with the local police department, fire department and BOCES Safety Office. Safety will always remain an area of focus.
This school year, you will also notice some upgrades as we move into phase two of the district’s capital project. Among other things, expect to see capital project work this year including:
- Sidewalk replacement
- New electric signs at both buildings
- Upgraded auditorium stage lighting in the high school
- Athletic field improvements
- Kitchen upgrades in both buildings
It will be an exciting time to see these improvements, and we will continue to review our infrastructure needs throughout the year and moving forward.
Welcoming back students
School administrators and staff have been preparing throughout the summer and are looking forward to welcoming students back to school in the fall.
As the start of school rapidly approaches with students’ first day on September 6, we have several orientations, meet-and-greets and open houses scheduled. There are events designed for students, parents/guardians and for teachers. As students transition into school and into new school buildings, I would encourage them to attend these events, which set the stage for students to feel comfortable and ready to learn.
Prekindergarten Informational Parent/Guardian Night: 6 p.m. on August 23 in the Elementary School cafeteria. Letters are on their way to PreK parents/guardians, and there also will be meet-and-greets with PreK students and their parents/guardians on September 6 and September 7.
Kindergarten Meet-and-Greets: Kindergarten meet-and-greets with students and their parents/guardians are scheduled for August 23, and letters are on their way to parents/guardians with more details.
Sixth Grade Parent/Guardian Orientation Night: 6-7:30 p.m. on August 24 in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium. The event is designed for parents/guardians, but students are welcome to attend as well. Incoming sixth graders also visited the middle school at the end of the school year to help with their transition.
New Teacher Orientation: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on August 25 at the Jr./Sr. High School. All new teachers and their mentors are invited to attend for a day of collaboration.
New High School Counselor: We have a new high school counselor, Mrs. Carolyn Saugh, joining middle school counselor Mrs. Heather Paul. Both are Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School graduates, happy to return to support our future graduates. Counselors will communicate important information about scheduling and more to students and parents/guardians in the days ahead.
Elementary Ice Cream Social and Open House: September 13 – 6 p.m. Ice Cream Social in the cafeteria and 6:30-7:30 p.m. Open House.
Middle School/High School Open House: 6-7:30 p.m. on September 15.
I appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received thus far as superintendent, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this message. I am excited for students to return and am looking forward to a successful school year for all.
Herkimer Central School District Superintendent
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