After six years as superintendent of the Clarkstown Central School District, Dr. Margaret Keller-Cogan attended her final board of education meeting on Monday. Several community members and former board trustees expressed their gratitude to Dr. Keller-Cogan and thanked her for her work on behalf of the district’s children.
“I admire you. I admire your class, your reserve, your poise, your intellect,” said Clarkstown North PTSA President and former board member Rhea Vogel. “You’re one of the brightest and smartest women I’ve ever known.”
Former School Board President Dr. Lisa Lieberman made reference to the tumultuous recent past when she said, “I’m sorry. “I’m sorry for the shameful way you have been treated here I really truly am.”
She went on to express her appreciation to the superintendent.
“Thank you for your professionalism,” said Lieberman. “Thank you for your grace, Thank you for your undying commitment to all of our young people above all else.”
The five school board members, who attended the last meeting before the July 2 reorganization, also spoke.
“I really feel we are losing a wonderful superintendent,” said Diane Hoeneveld, who lost her composure and asked Joe Malgieri to finish reading her remarks.
Malgieri noted the district saved money on overtime and energy usage under Dr. Keller-Cogan’s leadership.
“Most of all Meg I want to thank you for helping me become a better person and showing me what true dignity is all about,” said Malgieri.
Kevin Grogan acknowledged he and the superintendent had not always seen eye to eye on issues but said he respected her. Board President Doug Katz wished her good luck in her new position in Buffalo. Robert Carlucci said he did not have a lot of knowledge about board issues when he joined but he found the superintendent always answered his questions and provided the information he needed.
Dr. Keller-Cogan, who was at times teary eyed, noted the district brought positive attention to itself through the success of its students and the community’s insistence that education be treated as the top priority. She acknowledged there was also negative attention focused on the district that no one wanted.
“But I think that the core of every single person’s heart no matter what their politics were or opinions, there isn’t a person who doesn’t car about children,” she said.
She urged everyone to maintain their focus on the well being of the children in the school system.
“I’d like to thank the school community for the opportunity I’d been given when I was hired six years ago,” she said, adding she was leaving with gratitude in her heart for the talented staff that is so committed to the district, the community support and the friends she had made.
Dr. Keller-Cogan’s was not renewed by a majority of the school board. After a search had begun for a new superintendent, she accepted the position as for the independent Elmwood Franklin School in the City of Buffalo. She begins in the second week of July.
Clarkstown’s new Superintendentstarts on July 2. He is currently the superintendent of the Sparta School District in Sparta, NJ.