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Hudson District chooses new superintendent of schools

Dr. Lisamarie Spindler, above, a school administrator in Newburgh, will lead the Hudson City School District. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District Board of Education announced at its December 21 meeting that it has selected Dr. Lisamarie Spindler to become district superintendent beginning February 1, after current Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier retires.

Dr. Spindler comes to Hudson from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, where she has been assistant superintendent of finance since August 2020. Previously she was assistant superintendent of curriculum in the same district and a principal, assistant principal, and teacher in various Orange County schools.

She started her education career as a 6th grade teacher and now holds a BA in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta (2000), and advanced degrees in Education from Pace, Manhattanville, and Long Island University. She earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration degree from Pace University in 2017.

“I am humbled, honored and grateful,” Dr. Spindler told the meeting. “I have very big shoes to fill.” She added that she had “gravitated” toward the Hudson City School District (HCSD) because of the warm welcome she felt.

The Newburgh Enlarged City School District serves about 11,000 students in 14 schools. The Hudson District, by contrast, serves about 1,600 students in three schools.

Dr. Suttmeier officially retires January 2, but will serve as interim superintendent January 4 through 31, transition coach February 1 through 4, and leadership coach February 7 through June 30.

At the December 21 meeting the board honored Dr. Suttmeier for her 23 years of service and presented a “buddy bench” dedicated to her. “We are incredibly honored,” said school board member Sage Carter in a statement.

Dr. Suttmeier came to the HCSD in 1999. Over the years, she has served as grant coordinator, alternate learning program administrator, associate principal, and assistant superintendent, before becoming superintendent in 2012.

In 2012, the HCSD was still smarting from cuts in the wake of the 2008 Recession. In addition, the state was designating it as so underperforming that it needed special attention. Under Dr. Suttmeier, the HCSD climbed out of this designation in early 2016. Dr. Suttmeier’s additional accomplishments include a 20% increase in the graduation rate and the establishment of Future Focused goals, the statement read by Ms. Carter said.

‘I have very big shoes to fill.’

Dr. Lisamarie Spindler

Named as new superintendent.

Hudson City School District

“This has been a labor of love,” Dr. Suttmeier said. She added that she wants to show her appreciation. She said she could have accomplished what she did only with the help of others: “Everyone in the district has been the wind under my wings.”

Also at the meeting:

• The board appointed Annie Coager to become associate principal of Hudson High School. She replaces William Wood, who left in early December to be principal of the Columbia-Greene Educational Center. Ms. Coager comes to the HCSD from the Poughkeepsie schools, where she taught ELA to 11th and 12th graders for 12 years. However, Ms. Coager lives in Hudson, graduated from Hudson High School in 2004, and told the meeting, “It has always been my dream to return to Hudson.”

Ms. Coager starts on January 24. Until then, Ian MacCormack, an associate principal of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS), will divide his time between that school and the High School, said High School Principal Robert LaCasse. Since Mr. MacCormack began filling in as associate principal at the high school, the culture there has improved, reported Jacob Hromada, student representative to the board and a senior at the high school. The students know Mr. MacCormack and his “interaction with the kids is good,” said Jacob.

• Dr. Suttmeier reported that district and building administrators have met about the issues raised in the previous meeting (December 7) by the Hudson Teachers Association. “The lack of school life has hurt all the schools. We’re lucky to have community support,” she said. Within MCS, the main concern is cleanliness. And in all schools, she added, when students return on January 3 they would know it’s a new year

• The board also appointed Stacy Silcock as library media specialist for MCS. Ms. Silcock said she lives in Hudson, she has been a teacher for almost 15 years, and that the best thing about the new job is finally getting to work where she lives. “I’m really excited about being able to walk to work,” she said.

• Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Dr. April Prestipino announced that a few hours earlier the state had canceled the January Regents tests

• The meeting included a High School Curriculum Workshop, where two teachers spoke about language programs. American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Kayani Ilse gave an overview of the program and brought a therapy dog. As the meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, some of her students stood in front and recited the pledge in ASL.

Jamie Weiss, head of the World Language Department and a Spanish teacher, told about the state’s Seal of Bi-Literacy for students who demonstrate literacy in at least one language besides English. Some students from households that speak a language other than English “do not want to learn to read or write that language, because they are concentrating on learning English,” she said. But the Seal of Bi-Literacy is an incentive for them to acquire literacy in that language; it conveys there is something positive about knowing more than one language.

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Tuesday, January 18, at 6 pm.

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