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Important words from HCSD’s new superintendent

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By JEANETTE WOLFBERG

HUDSON – “The diversity of the student body,” the strategic plan’s “focus on the student,” and the beauty of the area are reasons Dr. Juliette Pennyman gave for seeking the position of Superintendent of the Hudson City School District (HCSD), at a media conference in the Hudson High School auditorium August 9. “I look forward to being here in this wonderful community,” she said.

The HCSD Board of Education, on August 8, named Dr. Pennyman superintendent starting September 1. Dr. Pennyman’s contract is for three years, but it gives the board the option of extending her employment at the end of that term.

In response to questions related to the directions she plans to take, Dr. Pennyman said, “We have to be aware of and focus on the whole child.” She noted the importance of the students’ social emotional development and achievements.

“What I have learned,” added Dr. Pennyman, who has almost 30 years experience in education and education administration, “is always to be in the role of servant. I serve the students, I serve the teachers, I serve the parents, I serve the board.”

Moreover, Dr. Pennyman said, “I will be visible in the community and make sure I am available.” She said that in finding a place to live, her first choice is Hudson, because “it is important to be seen in the community.” She foresaw “working with stakeholders so that Hudson can be a beacon of light.”

Although most of Dr. Pennyman’s experience has been with grade school and high school education, her latest position was as associate dean of academic services at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. When asked how her time at a college would influence her, she answered that higher education needs to understand what happens in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and pre-kindergarten through 12th grade needs to understand what happens in higher education. Students in lower grades need to realize more what will be expected of them in college. Dr. Pennyman called her time at the university “a great experience.”

Meanwhile, when asked what she planned to do for student safety, Dr. Pennyman called the HCSD’s recently-created safety plan “very robust.”

One thing Dr. Pennyman has labeled a top priority, according to Communications Specialist Austin Crosier, is naming a new Diversity Equity Inclusivity (DEI) manager to replace Dr. Trinidad Hernandez, who resigned, effective at the close of business August 25. “The DEI manager plays a vital role in the superintendent’s cabinet and develops and implements policies to ensure that every student in the Hudson City School District is provided with every opportunity to succeed and thrive in a safe, inclusive learning environment,” Mr. Crosier said.

On September 1, Dr. Pennyman will take over as superintendent from Interim Superintendent Cheryl Rabinowitz, who will then return to her regular position of District Instructional Technology Manager and Data Protection Officer.

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