Hall of Fame Class of 2021
John A. Carmello graduated third in his class from Albany High School in 1984. While there, he served as captain of the basketball team that went 22-4 his senior year. After high school, Carmello attended the University at Albany, where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. During undergrad, Carmello also played basketball for the Great Danes, again leading the team as captain his senior year. He was named to the first team of the College Basketball Academic All-American Team.
After graduate school, Colonie High School hired Carmello to teach math and coach, positions he held for 10 years. He began his administrative career as dean of students at Colonie High, followed by tenures as an associate principal at both the middle school and high school levels.
Urban education is his passion, and in 2005 he moved to the Troy City School District. He started as assistant principal and then principal at Troy High School, a position he held for six years. He was appointed as the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in 2011, and named superintendent in 2013, a position he’s held since.
Ward Dales was a beloved and accomplished City School District of Albany teacher from 1994 until his retirement in 2020. During his tenure, Dales ran the district’s very successful theater program, expanding it from Albany High School to include elementary and middle school students.
Dales is credited with transforming Albany High’s Theatre Ensemble into a top-notch experience for students, families and the community. His productions were professional quality and everyone involved – from the stage hands to the actors and pit orchestra – received exceptional instruction in theater performance and production.
Perhaps most notably, Dales transformed the stage into a teaching platform for social issues and was not afraid to shed light on controversial topics that were relevant locally and on a national level. Productions such as “The Laramie Project,” “Into the Woods,” “West Side Story,” “Black Boi” and “Cabaret” examined race, class, LGBTQ rights, intolerance, social-emotional and mental health, and politics.
The Capital Region may know Assemblymember Patricia Fahy for her tireless work at the New York State Capitol, but she has been known for more two decades throughout the City of Albany as a fierce advocate for public education – and the most distinguished title she holds is parent of City School District of Albany graduates.
Fahy started working for our city’s students and public schools by volunteering on the PTA, first at William S. Hackett Middle School and later at Albany High School. She was elected to the City School District of Albany Board of Education in 2001 and served through 2005, including a term as president in 2003.
Voters sent Fahy to the State Assembly in 2012. She currently represents the City of Albany and the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland and New Scotland. She was a driving force behind the successful Rebuilding Albany High School facilities project referendum, is advocating for legislation that would allocate money for prekindergarten transportation, and fights for equitable public education funding.
Fahy also serves on the Board of Directors of the University at Albany Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, and previously served on the board for the Boys and Girls club of Albany.
Prior to her election to the Assembly, Fahy served as associate commissioner of intergovernmental affairs and federal policy in the New York State Department of Labor. During the 1990s before moving to Albany, she served as executive director to the Chicago Workforce Board and spent nine years in Washington, D.C., including time as the associate director for employment and training in the Congressional Affair’s Office of the Department of Labor under Secretary Robert Reich during the Clinton administration.
Philo Germano, Class of 2013, distinguished himself as a student-athlete at Albany High School as the only Section 2 cross country champion in school history. He went on to rise from being a walk-on at Syracuse University to a cross country national champion and a track All-American.
Germano achieved these athletic accomplishments through grit and determination. A multi-sport athlete in his youth, Germano did not focus on running until high school. When he won the Section 2 championship as a senior in the fall of 2012, it was not just the first time in Albany High’s history but also the first time since 1984 that a runner from one of the traditional Big 10 schools had earned the section title. Four years later, his unbelievable finish at nationals catapulted Syracuse to its first NCAA team championship in more than 61 years.
Germano represented Albany High proudly and with distinction and the highest levels of his sport in high school and college, and is truly a graduate for generations of future Falcons to emulate.
The late John T. Harris was a 1970 graduate of the former Philip Schuyler High School and demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Albany’s young people.
Following graduation from Schuyler, where he played basketball, Harris joined the United States Air Force and then later attended the University at Albany. His early professional experience was with community-based organizations that focused on homelessness, substance abuse and at-risk youth.
In 1997, Harris accepted a teaching assistant job at School 20 (now North Albany Middle School) before becoming a home school coordinator at Giffen Memorial Elementary School and Albany High School, a position he held until his retirement in 2012.
During his school district career, Harris was instrumental in the coordination of Family Resource and Support Centers at Giffen and Albany High, implemented student-focused programs that aimed to improve self-esteem and personal growth, and created a professional mentoring program at Albany High that matched young men with local African-American business leaders.
Harris was a deacon at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, where he spearheaded the Back to School Festival. He also was an active member of the National Black Child Development Institute in Albany, which introduces middle school students and their families to college life and college access.
Margaret Lamar King’s career with the City School District of Albany spanned more than three decades and her impact – in the classroom, during athletic competition and on the stage – is felt by countless former students.
King started as a physical education and health teacher in 1973 at Philip Schuyler High School before transferring to William S. Hackett Middle School, where she taught the same subjects until her retirement in 2002.
While teaching at Schuyler and Hackett, King coached cheerleading, basketball, bowling and softball. She served as advisor to a swimming club and also created a juggling club.
King didn’t just work with student-athletes, she also directed many of Hackett’s theater productions, often turning timid, first-time performers into confident and experienced actors and musicians. Even following her retirement, she directed New Scotland Elementary School’s (then School 19) annual musical for five years.
King remains a champion of the school district and its students, supporting fundraisers and volunteering. She also continues to cheer on Falcons from the sidelines and in the audience, and is one of the school district’s most fervent fans on social media and throughout the Albany community.
Emia Willingham-Hurst, Albany High School Class of 2013, is one of the top basketball players in the school’s history. As a senior, she led the girls’ basketball team to Albany High’s first Section 2 team championship in 15 years and was named one of five finalists for the New York State Miss Basketball Award. She was recognized as the Times Union Large School Player of the Year, Section 2 Class AA Tournament MVP and Big 10 MVP.
The Lady Falcons had never won an outright Big 10 title before Willingham-Hurst’s time, but won it each of her last three seasons. She was a dynamic offensive player and a tenacious defender, averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, five steals and two assists as a senior (her fifth season on the varsity). Willingham-Hurst finished her Albany High career as the third- leading scorer in school history (1,441 points) and earned an NCAA Division I scholarship to Siena College.
Willingham-Hurst was a force to be reckoned with on the court and her leadership was impressive to witness. She’s a former Falcon who should serve as inspiration to all future Falcons.