Job shuffles leave Hudson shy 2 school administrators

HUDSON–City School District (HCSD) officials are so good that everybody wants them, Supervisor Maria L. Suttmeier told the Board of Education meeting last month.

This year the HCSD has experienced a turnover of high-profile staff, including three administrators leaving during school session for “higher” positions in other districts. “It’s hard to turn down a central office job,” Dr. Suttmeier noted on December 4. The changes opened administrative positions, some of which the HCSD filled quickly. But others, as of December 4, remained open.

One change in widely-known officials was announced over the summer and is still forthcoming, because Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds George Keeler said he will retire some time in 2020, though the date is not set. Last July, in anticipation of this change, the school board presented James Boyle, newly hired as head of maintenance, to work with Mr. Keeler, in preparation for taking over Mr. Keeler’s position when the time comes. Mr. Boyle is glad to have Mr. Keeler as a “sounding board,” Dr. Suttmeier said.

On September 3 the board accepted the resignation of High School Principal Antonio Abitabile, who has now become superintendent of the Lansingburgh Central School District, effective November 22. Mr. Abitabile’s associate principal, long-term HCSD administrator Robert LaCasse, became principal, and William Wood joined the HCSD as Hudson High School’s new associate principal.

On October 15 the board accepted the resignation of Hudson Junior High School Associate Principal Alyssa Sabbatino, effective November 5, after two and a half years with the HCSD, to become coordinator for school improvement in the Mechanicville School District.

Mr. Abitabile’s administrative assistant, Ellen Miller, decided to retire effective November 1. Her successor is Jodi Keyser, who was secretary to Mr. LaCasse when he was associate principal, and will now work with him as principal.

On November 5, the Board accepted the resignation of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School Associate Principal Lisa Ruud, effective January 3, 2020, after a year and a half in her position. She is leaving for an administrative position with the Hoosick Valley School District. The elementary school has one associate principal, Ian MacCormack, but it needs a second one because it has so many students, Leslie Coons, clerk to the Board said at the December 4 Board of Education meeting.

So as of December 4, the HCSD’s two open administrative positions were for associate principals. “It’s typical for an associate principal to move on,” Dr. Suttmeier said.

Last month Ms. Miller, Mr. Abitabile’s administrative assistant, who was still coming to the High School under contract to train Ms. Keyser, reflected on her 18 years working for the HCSD. “You plan something for the day, and it gets thrown out the window. Every day is a new day. You learn every day,”

Ms. Miller said her “stand-out experience” was being co-advisor for the Class of 2010. “We bonded with the kids. I mentored them in basic skills,” she said. Fundraising included several money-handling and accounting skills. “I hope we could guide them to adulthood. We have doctors, lawyers and newscasters from that class we’re so proud of.”

When asked what she had found most impressive about her experience, she answered, “I think the growth of the curriculum. It’s not a high school anymore. It’s partly a college. You can get two years of college credit. That helps in this age of high college tuition.”

Ms. Miller grew up in Greenport and attended St. Mary’s school for 1st through 8th grade and graduated from Hudson High School.

When asked her plans for retirement, she said, “just vacationing.”


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