Webutuck hires new principal
WEBUTUCK — During a special closed meeting of the Webutuck Board of Education (BOE) on Wednesday, Aug. 17, board members unanimously voted to hire Jay Curtis as the new principal for grades four though eight.Curtis, who until recently was the assistant principal at Myers Corners Elementary School in the Dutchess County district of Wappingers, will be joining the Webutuck team in September.“I’m really excited,” said Curtis, who said that his first goal at Webutuck will be to build a strong sense of trust and stability with the staff and students since the district has had a significant turnover in the administration during recent years.“We’re looking forward to his success here,” said Webutuck Board of Education President Dale Culver, who noted that Curtis was picked for the position because of his outstanding track record, high levels of motivation and strong teaching background.“His ability to work with kids is unquestioned,” said Culver.Webutuck Interim Superintendent David Paciencia was in agreement about Curtis’ qualifications. “He’s the total package,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a very solid team. I’m very optimistic.”Before Curtis’ appointment, the fourth through eighth grades were split between the elementary school and high school principals. Katy McEnroe served as principal for pre-k through sixth grade and Ken Sauer covered seventh through 12th.Once Curtis joins the administrative team, McEnroe will cover only pre-k through third grade and Sauer will cover ninth through 12th.Culver said the district decided to reinstate the position of the intermediate school principal because the students in those grades “needed a more firm presence” from someone whose sole responsibility is that segment of the school population.Sauer agreed. He said it’s very important to have an administrator who focuses on the middle school to ensure that the students receive the attention they deserve. He also noted that a principal dedicated to the intermediate school “can only make [the intermediate school] better.”Curtis began his career in education as a teacher at a Kingston school for juvenile delinquents.From there, he moved on to the Myers Corners Elementary School, where he spent seven years teaching sixth-grade math, science and English language arts.His next appointment, also at the Myers Corners Elementary School, was as the assistant principal, which he held for 12 years.Curtis said that some of his proudest accomplishments as the assistant principal included encouraging character education, recognizing and praising the students who were doing what they were supposed to be doing and building a stronger partnership between home and school.Curtis will also be filling the position of director of athletics for the school district.“There are a lot of life lessons learned on the field and [sports are] a great motivator,” he said, noting that he gained a lot from his time as an athlete.Curtis said that he looks forward to working in a smaller school district where he will be able to get to know everyone in the district.His official start date was not yet decided as of press time, but it is expected to be during the first month of school.