HUDSON—Two people who decided to leave the Hudson City District (HCSD) Board of Education spoke positively about their experience serving on it.
Charles Parmentier’s board term ends in June and he decided not to run again after serving almost four years. Sage Carter decided to leave the board following this week’s election. She served almost eight years and was its longest-serving member. The board’s longest-serving member is now Willette Jones, who joined it in 2016 and is currently president.
Ms. Carter is general manager of Hudson Hall. Her son is in 9th grade. Mr. Parmentier is Human Resources director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation in Albany. His wife has taught in the HCSD for “close to 30 years.” His three children graduated from Hudson High School in 2008, 2011 and 2020.
Ms. Carter, in a conversation last month, said she first joined the board because her son was small and, after doing volunteer work in his school, she wanted to get “more involved.” Mr. Parmentier, in a conversation this month, said one reason he joined the board was because he saw how hard his wife was working and wanted to support and show appreciation for her and other teachers.
Ms. Carter and Mr. Parmentier both said that on the board they got to see how complex running a school district is. The board has to deal with federal and state rules, and with local expectations, Ms. Carter noted. Its members would discuss whether policies set at the state level really work at the local level. It would try to give the district a voice and talk to state representatives about what the district needs. Ms. Carter said she had to learn what could and could not be done locally, concluding that “there is a lot that can be done.”
Mr. Parmentier said he already knew the hardships faced by teachers, but on the board he learned how hard the administrators also work and “what a difficult job” the superintendent has.
He found curriculum workshops “very informative,” saying that they introduced him to new ideas and a “broader cloth of teachers.” He said he could see the enthusiasm teachers had for teaching and the pride they had in what they taught.
‘As long as we stay focused on the kids, we’re doing our job.’
Sage Carter, retiring member Hudson Board of Education
Ms. Carter said she was very happy to have been part of the “many improvements” the HCSD has undergone in the past 10 years. The graduation rate has improved “tremendously. ” The District came out of focus (a state designation for school districts it considers substandard) in 2016, and “helping” it emerge “was exciting and interesting.” She said she is proud to have served on board’s Facilities Committee and to have participated in the search for a new superintendent.
Mr. Parmentier said his best experience was working with other board members, with the superintendent, and with the administrators. He found them dedicated and hardworking on behalf of students.
Ms. Carter said her job at Hudson Hall requires a lot of time and she has not been able to give the Board of Education “the time and attention it and the students deserve.” However, she intends to stay involved in schools. Hudson Hall has programs for students.
Mr. Parmentier said that with his retirement “on the horizon, his future is undecided and he does not want to have to leave the board in the middle of a 3-year term. But he spoke optimistically about the HCSD’s future. He said he believes the schools will gradually meet the students’ evolving needs, providing them with new paths to success. Some will go through career and technical education, others through higher education. But he said, “I think Hudson is doing a great thing with partners,” such as Columbia-Greene Community College and Bard.
“The HCSD is doing a lot,” said Ms. Carter. Nevertheless, “if you look at how schools perform in the US compared to other countries, we need to make serious improvements, and we need to do it now. We’re leaving so many students behind.”
Asked what advice she would give the new and remaining members of the board, Ms. Carter said, “As long as we stay focused on the kids, we’re doing our job.” Responding to the same question, Mr. Parmentier said, “Keep an open mind. Consider all suggestions. Work closely with the superintendent and administrators to provide the best education possible for the students.”
Mr. Parmentier described former Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier as “tremendously talented” and said the new superintendent, Dr. Lisamarie Spindler, “has great ideas. It will be exciting to see where she leads the district.”
Still, Mr. Parmentier added, teachers aren’t appreciated, though “they put in hours of work outside of the classroom. They spend their own money on the classroom and the kids. Teachers are the unsung heroes.”