Board appoints new director of special education
N.Y. (June 6, 2019) -- The City School District of Albany Board of
Education has appointed Elaine Griessler as the new director of special
education. A district veteran and currently the assistant director of
special education, Griessler will replace Debby Sharpe-DeFries, who is
retiring at the end of the school year.
Griessler has worked in the district’s Special
Education Department for six years, three as the Committee on Special
Education chair and three as the assistant director. Prior to coming to
Albany she served as a special education teacher and administrative
leader in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District from 1998
“Many years of experience working in special
education has taught me that there are a number of components involved
in being a successful leader,” Griessler said. “It begins with
communication, which includes building and sustaining positive
relationships with families, students, teachers, administrators, staff
and community partners.
“I am looking forward to applying my knowledge and
expertise as the director of special education as I serve the students
and families of Albany.”
Griessler is a graduate of the University at Albany,
and holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and women’s studies. She
earned a master’s in special education from The College of St. Rose and
went on to earn a master’s in education from Massachusetts College of
Liberal Arts, where she also completed her administrative certification.
Sharpe-DeFries is retiring at the end of the school
year after 31 years in the district.
She started as a special education teacher at Albany
High School in 1988 and also served in that capacity at William S.
Hackett Middle School and the district’s former Sunshine School. She
then served as the Committee on Special Education chair and the
assistant director of special education before taking over as director
“It’s been my pleasure to work for the City School
District of Albany all these years,” Sharpe-DeFries said. “I am so proud
of the programs and services we have been able to develop and offer to
our students during my time as director.
“I am grateful to the district for having given me
the opportunity to serve staff, students, families and the community.”
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
students in 18
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