What is your role here at the Hudson City School District, and where do you work?
I am one of two Associate Principals at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School.
When did you start working here?
My first day in the Hudson CSD was Oct. 31, a day on which some families celebrate Halloween. While some folks found this coincidence auspicious, I was thrilled because 10/31 also happens to be my late grandmother’s birthday and she was the main reason I became an educator. Also, I loved meeting all the kiddos for the first time dressed as a sloth!
What does your job entail? What are your responsibilities/priorities?
Since I only started recently, I am still learning the intricacies of my job. In a nutshell, though, I support the teachers here in doing their best teaching, the aides and assistants in doing their best work, the other administrators and support staff in the daily operations of the school, and most importantly the students and families in doing their best learning. Throughout all of this, my priority is that everyone at M.C. Smith feels safe and cared for each day they come to school.
What do you like most about your job?
Since it is impossible to name everything I love about my job, I will list the top three that come to mind in this moment:
1) The smiles and welcoming words I have received in my first week.
2) The chance to learn about the amazing programs and educational opportunities happening in the Hudson CSD in order to be able to eventually support and build these programs and educational opportunities.
3) The hugs from quiet friends in the hallway! After teaching in middle schools for the past eight years, I am enjoying being around littles again!
What is your education background?
My education background is an even mixture of public and private. I attended a small, progressive private school until fourth grade and then attended the New Paltz Central School District in Ulster County, NY through to my high school graduation. For my undergraduate degree, I majored in Technical Theatre at Hamilton College in Central NY, which included two years living in the United Kingdom: one working in theatres in London and another teaching in Edinburgh, Scotland after college. For my graduate degrees I first attended Bank Street College in New York City and then the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA where I am still a student pursuing my certification in district leadership.
What is your professional background? What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
After college I tried out a couple of careers in my early twenties: youth theater production, front desk at a salon, paralegal type work. I quickly realized I wanted to teach so I became an Assistant Teacher and then a Head Teacher of 1st and 2nd graders where I stayed for ten years. After having two children, our family relocated to Columbia County and I worked part time at the Chatham Bookstore, which had always been a dream job of mine as a kid. Next, I directed plays and taught ELA to 4th through 8th graders at a small private school. Finally, I became an Informational Literacy teacher at Goff Middle School in East Greenbush, NY. This was a very interesting job as I worked with over 100 sixth graders each day teaching them to read and write in nonfiction. However, my most interesting job outside of a school was taking children on overnight hiking trips in the Adirondack Mountains, which was my summer job in college. There’s nothing like the exhilaration you feel after climbing a mountain!
Tell us a bit about your life outside of school?
Outside of school, I spend a lot of time with my family. My husband is a high school teacher in New Lebanon, NY. My children are in 8th grade and 5th grade at Ichabod Crane CSD and we love hiking, reading, traveling, and playing together when we aren’t all in school. Traveling is very important to me and I have the goal of visiting all 50 states by the time I am 50. I have already been to 42 states so I might just make it!
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
The best advice anyone has ever given me is that whether I think I can or think I can’t, I am right. Through life, I have found that the things I want to do, no matter how hard they may seem, are achievable if I work hard and think positive. For a long time, I didn’t follow this advice but then I ran a marathon during the Covid-19 pandemic and realized that it’s true.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
I have so many! Literally, I have collected quotes since high school and I used to have my students work with a quote a week in my sixth grade classroom. Which one is resonating with me today? An oldie (embarrassingly I think I might have even used it in my Senior yearbook) but a goodie: “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night” – Sarah Williams. It reminds me to live fully and fearlessly.