By REBECCA ISENHART
NISKAYUNA — The Niskayuna Central School District welcomed two new administrators at the Sept. 23 Board of Education meeting, and with them new organizational practices.
The board officially appointed Carrie Nyc-Chevrier the district’s new superintendent of business and finance after concluding a search to replace Matt Bourgeois, who is leaving the district after 18 years for a similar position in another county. Chevrier is currently business office administrator at Questar III BOCES and will start at Niskayuna with Bourgeois’ guidance Oct. 14.
Chevrier will quickly learn what’s important to Niskayuna students, parents, and staff, as she will be instrumental in the annual budget process, now in its early stages. This year, interim Superintendent John Yagielski has determined the budget will get extra attention. Instead of minor adjustments and evaluations, Niskayuna’s finances will be completely rebuilt, largely based on input from community members regarding what services and programs matter most to them.
“The goal there is to start from the ground up, so it’s very transparent for taxpayers,” Nyc-Chevrier said.
Yagielski said starting fresh would benefit his understanding of the district, an important goal since he’s charged with smoothing the way for a permanent superintendent to take over in the near future.
“I’m new to the process here, new to this district, and it’s oftentimes with somebody in my position a good idea to start from scratch and build,” he said. “You’re making a lot of assumptions around continuing things.
“It’s a good way of kind of reinitializing what our requirements are.”
Chevrier, who will work on the technical aspects of budget-building, said she too was excited to learn about the community by working together on a clear financial plan.
“This is a great process for me to learn everything that’s going on in the district,” she said.
In addition to replacing Bourgeois, the board appointed an interim employee to a new position: director of student and staff support services. Michael Dutkowsky, a retired assistant superintendent for human resources from the Shenendehowa Central School District, will fill the new role for a period beginning the first week in October. Yagielski hopes to fill it permanently by January 2015.
“I’m looking at a busy 31⁄2 to four months,” Dutkowsky said.
In addition to six years as assistant superintendent at Shenendehowa, he also has experience with curriculum development and has served as assistant superintendent in Schenectady in the 1990s and later as superintendent of schools in Tuxedo.
His responsibilities at Niskayuna will include kindergarten registration, academic advising for older students and supporting the Committee on Special Education, which helps direct students with unique learning needs to the proper programs. He’ll also oversee human resources decisions.
“I think what I’m looking forward to is helping John move his plans forward, his mission as far as helping students achieve to the very best of their ability,” Dutkowsky said. “When he leaves, it’s going to be a strong district with solid leadership.”
Yagielski predicted that as the school year progresses, the support role will evolve.
“Since it’s a newly configured set of functions, we want to get it off the ground a little bit, and he’ll help us do that,” Yagielski said. “Then we can pick a permanent replacement.”
The title is new, but the duties have always been important to the district’s operations. The new position is simply a way of consolidating many tasks into one job.
“It’s a restructured position,” Yagielski said. “In the past there have been a combination of human resources and student support, but not quite as crisply defined as we’re defining it here.”