BALLSTON SPA – Members of the Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education, staff and administrators said goodbye to outgoing district Superintendent Dr. Joseph Dragone during Wednesday’s board meeting.
Board of Education President Kevin Schaefer opened Wednesday’s meeting by saying, “It pains me to say that this is Dr. Dragone’s last superintendent report for this board, but it is.”
The school board accepted Dragone’s resignation effective Oct. 30 in September following his acceptance of a position with the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educations Services.
Dragone will serve as senior executive officer for Capital Region BOCES, which provides educational and administrative services to 23 school districts in Saratoga, Albany, Schenectady and Schoharie counties.
After through the recent school news, Dragone shared that this week is New York State School Boards Appreciation Week and the school district had a Scottie gift bag with school related goodies for each of the board members to show their appreciation for the work that the board members do while volunteering their time and service to the district.
“On a personal note, I was going back through my notes, we’re in the neighborhood of 300 plus meetings in all since I’ve been here,” Dragone said. “It’s a long time and I appreciate our relationship role and I’m sure that relationship will go forward with Denise [Jones] and whoever will be stepping in after to make sure that the important work continues.”
Throughout the board meeting BSCSD staff and administrators acknowledged Dragone for his accomplishments, thanking him for the role that he has had in making the school district successful and helping them along in their careers.
Ballston Spa Middle School Principal Pamela Motler said, “Years ago Dr. Dragone set the tone and he set us on a path of continuous improvement with very, sometimes very high expectations.”
Motler recognized her distaste for change, but acknowledged that “change isn’t new and it’s not unusual and it’s not a roadblock that we can’t get through. And most importantly it’s not going to be an excuse to do less.”
The middle school recently applied for re-designation as one of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s Schools to Watch. The middle school first received the distinction in 2015.
The designation is assigned to schools in each state demonstrating academic excellence, developmental responsiveness and social equitability.
As part of the application process officials visit each school, Motler shared that the visit would take place this Monday in response to her request that it occur before Dragone’s departure due to his familiarity with the program and the work that the middle school has done.
“I have a lot of favorite things that Dr. Dragone says, like you can’t boil the ocean or why are you walking around the block to get next door, but what I think he probably said the most to me in nine years is stay the course. So, we just want you to know we will certainly stay the course, onward and upward,” Motler said.
Wood Road Elementary School Administrative Assistant Kimberli Michael shared the appreciation that she and school staffers have for Dragone, saying “You have left a deep and lasting impact and imprint in our hearts and we know you will be successful wherever you go and we wish you the best, but we will truly miss you here.”
Michael spoke of Dragone’s ability to inspire members of the school district as they carry out their work, his vision for the district that has helped to make it a success, the relationships he has cultivated and his encouragement along the way.
“To this day you inspire us to see beyond our selves, to work together and when we have a vision for something to go after it full force,” Michael said. “I’ve only been working here for a few years, but when I started I knew that I was going to be a part of a really great and strong community of people because of the team that you’ve helped create here.”
The Ballston Spa Teachers Association expressed their thanks for Dragone’s service and for creating a collaborative process within the district that they could look forward to continuing with the future leadership.
Finally, school board President Schaefer took the opportunity to thank the superintendent once more for his work before adjourning Dragone’s final Board of Education meeting.
“Once again I would like to thank Dr. Dragone for nine years plus of complete service to the district. I think if you look back nine years ago we were in a completely different position than we are right now, financially, academically, artistically, however you want to look at it I don’t think there’s an area that you have not hit upon,” Schaefer said.
Following the meeting Dragone said that going into his last full week of school he has enjoyed reflecting on working alongside district teachers and staff to provide educational opportunities and programs to students.
“I appreciate everybody’s hard work and support on behalf of the entire school community over the past nine years and I wish everyone well and success in the future,” Dragone said.
The Board of Education has retained the services of Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES to conduct the search for a permanent superintendent. BSCSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Professional Development Denise Jones will serve as interim superintendent until a permanent replacement is named.
The superintendent search process will take place throughout the current school year. The school board anticipates having the new superintendent in place for start of the 2018-19 school year.