With fall just around the corner, students and parents are getting ready for school to get back under way. Students at Lansing High School can expect to see more than just their old classmates upon returning.
Colleen Ledley was confirmed by the Lansing Board of Education to take over the position of high school principal. She will be replacing Eric Hartz, who served as principal until his resignation in May of 2013.
Ledley, a native of Brewster, comes to the Lansing District after having served as the principal of South Hill Elementary School. She was one of 52 candidates under consideration for the position with the high school. Her previous work background includes employment at the New York Public Interest Research Group as well as volunteering for Congressman Matt McHugh. In addition, her educational background includes a degree in both Political Science and Economics from Colgate University as well as a Master’s in Teaching from SUNY Binghamton.
Mandates from the State were among the reasons that Hartz cited for his resignation as high school principal. In an interview with YNN, Hartz explained his reason for leaving after almost twenty years in the business. "I'm to a point where I feel like I don't have that student interaction anymore because I don't have time,” he explains. “I should never not have time for a student."
During a telephone interview, Glenn Swanson, president of the Lansing Board of Education, said that he was sad to see Hartz leave, especially due to the frustration with the mandates, but added that both Hartz and Ledley are “great people” and that Ledley especially “has a strong focus on curriculum development.” Among the 52 applicants, he says, they were looking for someone who was “well qualified, with a strong academic background.”
According to Swanson, the application process began with a job posting on numerous education associated websites, and, from there, meetings with the superintendent, as well as many of the members of the local community. He continued that they were very fortunate that so many people expressed an interest in the position, and that that attests to the high standards with the school.
Ledley also served as a social studies teacher, but, Swanson adds, although she was “glad for the experience in elementary,” her experience in high school really “confirmed her interest” in staying with high school education.
In addition to upcoming construction projects, Swanson added that Ledley is looking forward to “getting to know about the students and their needs.” Ledley’s hiring as principal, Swanson continued, would bring “new perspectives” for the school district.
Ledley could not be reached for comment as of the publication of this article.
In his May 13 letter of resignation to the Lansing School Board, Hartz expressed his increased frustration with the State mandates. Hartz says, “NYSED (New York State Education Department) decided that schools were spending too much money or holding to too much money so we, school districts, were asked to cut back. Not only did the cut backs cut districts of needed funding to sustain robust programs but at the same time NYSED decided that there needed to be an accountability of teachers and administrators.”
His resignation is made all the more disappointing because, as his resignation says, he wanted to be involved with education very early in his career. Hartz says of his hiring in 2005 as the Lansing High School principal, “I now would have the ability to have the greatest impact in education for both students and educators as a [principal]. The first 4-5 years had their challenges but I don't think there is a "new" principal out there that wouldn't say they had challenges in their first few years.”
Hartz goes on to say at the end of his resignation that he will be moving on from his educational experiences to work for construction firm in Syracuse.
Lansing High School has an enrollment of approximately 425 students in grades 9 through 12, and features various partnerships with TC3, TST BOCES Career and Tech Center. In comparison, South Hill Elementary has an enrollment of 330 students from grades Pre-K to 5. While this transition to a larger school district, as well as an older demographic seems like a daunting task for some, Ms. Ledley seems more than ready to get started.
The hiring of Ledley as principal seems to be both an effective and efficient plan to live up to the school’s mission statement “to educate students to become knowledgeable, responsible, healthy, and productive citizens.”