Hudson school board president Kelly Frank departs

HUDSON–Kelly Frank, president of the Hudson City School District Board of Education, has resigned effective August 26, in order to take a job in Houston, Texas. She announced her decision at the regular board meeting Monday, August 11. She was beginning the fourth year of a five-year term on the board and this would have been her second full year as president.

Ms. Frank’s successor as president of the school board will “most likely” be the board’s vice president, Tiffany Martin Hamilton, according to Frieda Van Deusen, clerk of the Board of Education.

Ms. Hamilton was not present at the August 11 meeting.

In her announcement, Ms. Frank repeatedly stated her “reluctance” to take the step she did. One of her regrets is that her daughter, now about to enter 5th grade, will receive the rest of her formal education outside of the Hudson City School District. “I regret my daughter will miss the opportunity to be taught by great teachers,” Ms. Frank stated. “I wish she could have been in the Hudson City School District until graduation,” she said.

Ms. Frank said she had been seeking a job that would have allowed her to continue living in the district, but the offer she received for the position of market controller for CBS Broadcasting in Houston was “too good to pass up.” She said she needs to start by September 8.

Reviewing her three years on the Board, Ms. Frank said in an August 12 email, that the highlight “definitely” was “being able to hand out diplomas… It is the culmination of all the hard work our students and teachers do every day. Handing out those diplomas makes all the time and effort required to be a member of the board worth it. I am so grateful and proud to have been a part of that special moment in so many students’ lives.”

“The most challenging time,” she added, “is always budget season. Trying to make sure the students, staff and administrators have what they need in order to make all students successful while weighing taxpayers’ burden is tough. But I am glad to say that this year we were able to add teachers back and the district is facing a brighter future.”

Ms. Frank’s departure will be the fourth resignation of a board member since April of last year and the second this year occurring because a member has moved out of the district–Jeri Chapman left in May 2014. The previous board president, Peter Merante, resigned in April 2013 and board member Elizabeth Fout, once vice president of the board, also resigned that year.

When asked by telephone August 12 whether this turnover within the Board was common, Ms. Van Deusen, the board clerk said, “No, this is not normal,” calling the exodus an “unusual amount in a short period.”

According to Ms. Van Deusen, the board will probably then elect a new vice president from among its existing members and announce the vacancy on the board. The announcement will invite those interested in the position to send in letters. From those candidates, the board can select a person to serve on the Board until the May 2015 election, when district voters will select someone to complete Ms. Frank’s term. The term ends June 30, 2016.

Ms. Frank was elected to the board in May 2011 and became interim president in April 23, 2013 with the resignation of Mr. Merante. Her presidency was confirmed by fellow board members in July 2013 and again this July. Among the issues that arose during her time as president were problems between District Superintendent Maria Suttmeier and then-High School Principal Thomas Gavin, the appointment of High School Principal Antonio Abitabile, establishment of the Bridge Alternate Transition Program, and the rollout of the Common Core curriculum.

Racquel “Kelly” Frank grew up in Corning and has lived in the Hudson area since 2006.

Also at the August 11 meeting:

•Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino spoke positively of the Summer Academies, which introduce students who will enter new buildings in September to those buildings and their teachers-to-be. She said Intermediate School Principal Mark Brenneman reported that incoming 3rd graders and their teachers are having “a great time.”

•The board presented two new social studies teachers: Dan Paylor for the junior high school and Laura Bartlett-Bender for the high school. Ms. Bartlett-Bender was interim teacher while her predecessor, Robert LaCasse, served as dean of students. Now with Mr. LaCasse appointed associate principal, Ms. Bartlett-Bender will be a social studies teacher.

•The district’s contracted internal auditor, Michael Wolff, summarized the most recent internal audit, saying, “There were no glaring” problems. It was, he said, a “relatively clean audit. A vast improvement over prior years.” As for the payroll, he described Hudson as “one of the cleaner school districts I’ve seen.”

The next Board meeting, Kelly Frank’s last, will occur Monday, August 25, at the Junior High School Library.

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