With one school closed, board renames another

HUDSON–The Board of Education renamed a school, voted Willette Jones its new vice president, appointed officials for the new school year, welcomed new staff, and discussed how to inform teachers of policy changes at its organizational meeting Monday, July 2.

The board changed the name of Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School to Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, as of July 1. That school now includes all grades from pre-kindergarten through 5th. Built as the High School in 1937, it has held a variety of grades since the High School moved to its current building in 1972. Additions enlarged it in the mid-1990s and this past year.

The closing of John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) became official as of July 1. But summer programs scheduled for JLE’s grounds will still take place. “We still own the building. It’s just not a school,” said Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier.

In a related matter, board member Linda Hopkins asked about the increased vehicular traffic around the Elementary School necessitating a stoplight at Harry Howard Avenue and Paddock Place. Dr. Suttmeier and the board agreed to see how the traffic pattern develops this fall to determine what traffic lights are needed where.

Meanwhile, the board re-elected Carrie Otty president and chose Willette Jones the new vice president. Ms. Otty has been president since May 2016.

Ms. Jones, who has been on the board since May 2016, said that she graduated from Hudson High School in 1998, her four children have been educated in the Hudson City School District, and she has worked with Community Schools, Head Start and the County Clerk’s Office. As vice-president, she replaces Maria McLaughlin, who remains on the board but who, other members said, no longer wanted the position of vice president.

On July 2, the Board also appointed officials for the 2018-19 school year. These included:

• Dawn McDonald, secretary to the superintendent

• Leslie Coons, clerk of the board and records access officer

• Deborah Long—district treasurer and tax collector

• Melissa McHugh—deputy treasurer

• Whitbeck Benedict and Smith, LLP attorneys.

In addition, the board designated School Business Administrator Sharifa Carbon, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds George Keeler, and Director of Student Services Kim Lybolt each as officers and coordinators for various specific ancillary roles.

Two new hires for administrative positions appeared for a welcome at the meeting. Melissa Noblin is returning to the district as a personnel clerk, after years with the Columbia County Civil Service. Before that she served the district as a clerk/typist. Rachel Rissetto, from BOCES in Plattsburgh, will be human resources director for July, helping to create a Human Resources Department.

The board discussed security measures, cell phone policies, and making sure teachers enforce policies. Ms. Hopkins remarked, “Recently our wellness policy changed regarding recess. I don’t know whether teachers are aware of the change.”

“The policies have to be available on paper as well as email,” said Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino, “I see teachers who have thousands of unopened emails in their in box. Attachments can be lost.”

Also at the meeting, Dr. Suttmeier said, “Graduation was amazing, as it always is. But this year, it was especially classy with the orchestra. I’m amazed by the music coming from [our] students.”

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Monday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Junior High library, where such meetings will take place throughout the summer, instead of the High School.

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