Hudson school board meets new administrators

HUDSON–At the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting January 7, Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier welcomed two new administrators and a departing administrator offered an overview of preparations for the upcoming district budget.

The new administrators are Amanda Klopott, associate principal of the Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS) as of January 21, and Jesse Boehme, who will become the district business administrator February 10. Ms. Klopott replaces Lisa Ruud, and Mr. Boehme replaces Sharifa Carbon, both of whom have taken administrative positions in other school districts.

Ms. Carbon spent much of the meeting updating the board on the financial status of the HCSD, alerting members to requirements, expectations and uncertainties associated with next year’s budget. One uncertainty every year is how much state aid the district will receive. Another one this year is what the courts will decide about last year’s reassessment of property in the City of Hudson. Some property owners, unable to get their assessment lowered “enough” by the city, have taken their cases to court. The “worst case” scenario would be a court order that the district must pay back some taxpayer money.

Ms. Klopott studied business administration at SUNY Oswego and curriculum instruction at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She taught English as a New Language for seven years in North Colonie, where her pupils included many SIFEs (students with interrupted formal education). She now lives in the Town of Nassau in Rensselaer County.

At MCS, Ms. Klopott will team with Ian McCormack, also an associate principal. MCS needs two associate principals because of its large number of students, a district official said in December. “Hudson has made huge strides,” Ms. Klopott told the meeting. She said she reached out to the community and students’ families in North Colonie and hopes to do the same in Hudson.

Mr. Boehme has lived in Columbia County all his life and graduated from Chatham High School. He studied accounting at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh and the College of St. Rose in Albany, where he also earned a certificate in school district business leadership. He has also been treasurer of the Chatham Central School District.

Mr. Boehme comes to Hudson from the Germantown Central School District, where he was business administrator for three and a half years. At the January 7 meeting, he told the Hudson School Board, “You guys have a great staff here.”

Also at the meeting:

• Board President Carrie Otty announced the retirement, as of June 30, of two elementary school teachers: Renée Laporto, after 30 years; and Wendy Monsell, after 26+ years

• Dr. Suttmeier reported satisfaction attending holiday events at the MCS auditorium, now open again after a remodeling

• As for sports facilities, Dr. Suttmeier reported that new dugouts for the softball field on high school grounds are “tentatively set” to arrive in mid-January. And Superintendent of Buildings and GroundsGeorge Keeler is discussing the location of new dugouts for the baseball field on MCS grounds with coaches and MCS Principal Mark Brenneman

• The board approved a donation from Alliance Energy of $500 to purchase 3-D printers for the MCS STEAM classes and a donation from Staples of $700 worth of headphones, pens, rulers, hand sanitizer bottles, adult scissors, designer pocket folders, journals, notebooks, and related items. Dr. Suttmeier thanked Transportation Director Nikki DeDominicis for her role in arranging the Staples donation.

Carbon looks back

“WHAT I’VE ENJOYED greatly has been my ability to interact with the students and the community. It has been awesome! It’s one of the reasons I stayed so long,” said Sharifa Carbon, business administrator of the Hudson City School District (HCSD), who is leaving after four years in that position to become assistant superintendent for business at the New Paltz Central School District. She spoke by phone January 10.

“I’m very proud to be a Blue Hawk,” she said. “I’m keeping all my Blue Hawk gear.”

Ms. Carbon “was pleasantly surprised when I got here to find out how diverse the district is,” how “supportive” and “close-knit the community is,” and how “engaged” the district is in the community. She also enjoyed working with district administrators, including Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier, and seeing the “improvements and changes over the past four years.”

Since the beginning of Ms. Carbon’s term in late in 2015, the HCSD’s finances have improved.

Significantly, the district has built a reserve fund, and by October 2019 external auditor Scott Preusser told the HCSD Board of Education, “Overall, your district is in good financial condition. Your asset-to-liability ratio keeps increasing.” And at its January 7, 2020 meeting, risk assessor Michael Wolff told the board that he recommends how it “monitors” the finances and classroom use of extracurricular clubs as a model for other districts.

“Honestly, it has been my pleasure to be at the HCSD for the past four years,” Ms. Carbon said January 10. She added that her designated successor, Jesse Boehme, who starts February 10, “is coming into an excellent school district with an excellent staff.” –Jeanette Wolfberg

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