At its meeting on Tuesday, May 7, the Board of Education officially appointed
Rosendale Principal Lauren Gemmill as assistant superintendent for educational
programs and instruction and named current K-8 English Language Arts Director
Jean Winkler as the next principal of Rosendale.
Both appointments take effect July 1, although Gemmill and Winkler have begun to familiarize themselves with their new roles to help ensure a smooth transition. They both have extensive experience working with staff and parents, and leading programs and initiatives at the school and district level.
The Board action formalizes significant elements of an administrative restructuring plan that was announced in March and helped the district close the budget gap for next year without the loss of student programs.
Gemmill will replace Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs and Instruction Dr. Deborah Shea, who is retiring at the end of this year. Gemmill has been the principal at Rosendale for six years, overseeing its continued academic success and working closely with teachers, staff, and parents.
In addition to her leadership at Rosendale, Gemmill has been part of administrative team that has guided the districtwide implementation of the Common Core standards and provided training to district leaders on the new standards and data-driven instruction. Prior to coming to Niskayuna, Gemmill was the K-5 academic administrator for ELA and social studies with the Shenendehowa Central School District.
Winkler has been the K-8 ELA director for six years. In that time, she has helped guide the transition to the new English language arts standards across Niskayuna's elementary and middle schools.
She has led numerous curriculum and professional development initiatives, developing a rapport with elementary teachers that will serve her well as the principal of Rosendale. Winkler has been working closely with Gemmill this spring to help foster a smooth transition for the school community.
Also at its May 7 meeting, the board appointed current District Treasurer Kim
Scheuer as the human resources supervisor, a Civil Service position that will handle responsibilities previously assigned to the human resource administrator. The restructuring plan called for that administrative position to be eliminated following the retirement of Ron Grastorf in March.
Scheuer's appointment is effective immediately. She has been with the district for seven years, and prior to that was the treasurer for the Menands school district and the deputy director of finance for the city of Schenectady. In addition to Scheuer's knowledge of school finance and central office operations, her human resources experience within Schenectady and at Menands made her an ideal fit for the new role.
The overall administrative restructuring plan was driven by a series of planned retirements for next year, and relies on the strength of existing leadership to absorb the reduction of 3.5 positions in total. In addition to individuals taking on new jobs, many others are adding new supervisory and managerial duties to their current roles.
"In the short time that I've been in Niskayuna, I have been impressed with the quality of our leadership team and their collaborative nature," Interim Superintendent John Yagielski said. "Lauren and Jean have the kind of track record of success in our schools that comes from experience, vision, and the ability to work in partnership with teachers and staff, parents, and community. I congratulate them on their new positions."
"As the restructuring plan moves into place," Yagielski added, "Our community can expect that district leaders will do what it takes to make it work. They can also expect that we will be monitoring the plan to make sure that our district and programs continue to be successful in the long run."