Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard heads to school
as she begins her tenure as superintendent
ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept.
24, 2012) -- Beginning her first official day on the job in the places
she plans to spend a lot of her time as the City School District of
Albany's superintendent, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D., visited
schools and classrooms Sept. 24 to start learning about the
8,600-student district she now leads.
Dr. Vanden Wyngaard -- or "Dr. V" for short -- began
her morning with a brief tour at Albany High School, accompanied by
YNN/CH. 9 and the Times Union.
She also visited Philip J. Schuyler Achievement
Academy (pictured at right meeting a family at drop-off), a
stop that included an interview with Ch. 6. Her final stop in the
morning was at Arbor Hill Elementary School, where Ch. 13 was on hand to
Dr. Vanden Wyngaard also visited Thomas O'Brien
Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) and Giffen Memorial Elementary
School (pictured below in a computer lab) on her first day, part of a schedule that will take her to all 17
district schools during her first week.
The first African-American woman permanently
appointed to lead the district, Dr. Vanden Wyngaard also shared a
message with staff to begin her first day (see below), outlining a vision for
working together with all stakeholders to raise achievement for all
students and advance Albany's public schools to "be the best urban
school district in the country."
Dr. Vanden Wyngaard, who succeeds Raymond
Colucciello, Ed.D., plans to continue an energetic
outreach plan during her first months and throughout her tenure to
provide all staff, families and community members opportunities to share
their vision for the district's future.
to read more about Dr. Vanden Wyngaard.
Please read Dr. Vanden Wyngaard's introductory
Raise the bar, commit to excellence
It has been a little over two weeks since I moved
with my family to Albany and I cannot thank you enough for the warm
welcome I have received from across the community.
Your generosity in time, information and humor has
made this transition easy. You have shown me that my thoughts about
Albany as a community of great warmth, invigorating conversation and a
commitment to our students has been profoundly confirmed as I have begun
to speak with many of you about our budding partnership to change the
academic lives of children.
I was reflecting upon the Board of Education meeting
that I attended Sept. 20. Chef Paul Moyer, who helped the students from
the Culinary Arts program at Abrookin Career and Technical Center cater
the celebration held on my behalf Sept. 12 at William S. Hackett Middle
School, said a powerful statement that has been central to my beliefs as
Given the short timeline to prepare for the event
and his standards for what he believed should be accomplished, he said
in making reference to his students, “They did what was
asked of them!”
What was asked of them? What have we asked of our
Do we ask them to interpret and analyze information
and expect them to work cooperatively with each other to solve
real-world problems? Do we ask them to think deeply about how they
impact the world through their actions, and how they can positively
impact the community through their academic success?
What do we ask of ourselves, as teacher-leaders, to
provide invigorating, real, powerful units of study to facilitate
learning for our students beyond the confines of a book? How do we know
that what we taught was learned on a daily basis?
With these questions constantly invading my
reflection, and through the research I have done and have had confirmed
by our school board, I believe that we must steer a course that not only
raises the bar for our students, but raises the bar for all of us as we
commit to excellence in all of our work.
To that end, the school board and I soon will embark
on listening sessions within the community to learn more about your
ideas, and the struggles and hopes you have for our district. The
information from these listening sessions will begin to create the
framework for our future success.
It is important that all staff members, parents and
community members can see themselves contributing to this critical
How will we raise the bar and commit to excellence
to achieve significant academic progress that many in the world believe
are unattainable? I believe that we will succeed if we are united in our
Provide a caring, competent teacher in every
classroom with supports to meet expectations
Empower principals as the key leaders to
facilitate this vision
Ensure a strong central-office staff focused on
supporting school leaders and teacher-leaders in raising the bar
Expand leadership density throughout all of the
Engage parents, community members and strategic
partners to work together with us in reinforcing learning paths
toward graduation to ensure that our students pursue college and
I truly believe that we have a courageous community,
many eager partners and a powerful teacher and leadership team to meet
these ambitious goals.
As the “chief learner” for the City School District
of Albany, one of my key roles is to facilitate and create a system for
community building, because I cannot do any of this without you. I look
forward to meeting with you and working together to accomplish these
goals for our students and our city.
I believe in Albany. I believe in our students and
staff. I hope you believe, as I do and our school board does, that
Albany will be the best urban school district in the country. I look
forward to hearing from you and partnering with you so our students will
be the next generation of leaders.
Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and nurture all students to be
responsible citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners to
successfully compete in the global community by providing an
academically rigorous and safe environment in partnership with parents,
students and the community. The district serves about 8,600
students in 15
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High