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Back to Communications Home

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 greet her.

 

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. Click here to read more about Dr. Vanden Wyngaard.

 

Please read Dr. Vanden Wyngaard's introductory message below.

 

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 an educator.

 

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 students?

 

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 process.

 

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 work to:

 

  • 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 learning organization

  • 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 careers

 

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 School.

         
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