Rosendale principal named district ELA head

Jean Winkler, then the new Rosendale Elementary School principal, is shown in August 2014. (Rebecca Isenhart/Gazette Reporter)Jean Winkler, then the new Rosendale Elementary School principal, is shown in August 2014. (Rebecca Isenhart/Gazette Reporter)

After just one year as principal at Rosendale Elementary School in Niskayuna, Jean Winkler has been named the district’s K-12 English Language Arts director.

While John Yagielski headed the district as interim superintendent, he led a reorganization that included moving toward districtwide curriculum development, rather than separating K-8 and 9-12 into separate positions, as was previously the case.

Winkler was the district’s K-8 curriculum developer for six years before being named principal at Rosendale.

“Her experience at the building level helps her when she takes a districtwide perspective,” Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra said of Winkler.

“It definitely was a difficult decision, but curriculum work has always been something that I’ve been drawn to,” Winkler said. ”When the district moved to this multiyear plan and created the K-12 post, it was an opportunity I had to go for.”

Winkler said she’s happy she’ll be able to continue working with the teachers at Rosendale, though there are parts of being a principal that she’ll miss.

“I think it’s this renewed focus on student learning and empowering teachers to build that world-class curriculum that we know we’re capable of,” she said. It will also enable the district to continue building upon learning materials that match Common Core standards.

Winkler was one of several Niskayuna School District employees to receive training from the state Education Department on the new standards, and is looking forward to putting that knowledge to work.

“For me it’s having more of a structure in place, and time and resources committed to curriculum work was something we lost when we were in a different budget situation,” she said.

“We’re breathing new life into it,” she continued. “We’re looking at it through a new lens. It will look and feel different in an exciting way.”

Fran Reinl, a retired former principal at Glencliff Elementary School, will act as interim principal at Rosendale. Tangorra said a committee of Rosendale staff, faculty and community members will aim to select a new principal by January 2016. be able to continue working with the teachers at Rosendale, though there are parts of being a principal that she’ll miss.

“I don’t give up the staff,” she said. “What I had to give up was the relationships with the kids and the families.”

Tangorra said even though he isn’t familiar with what curriculum development used to look like in the district, he’s excited about the future, with dedicated leaders like Winkler assigned to oversee material. Her counterparts are Bill Wales, math director; Marie Degirolamo, world languages and social studies director; and Jackie Carrese, technology director.

“It falls into line with my desire to move toward a worldclass school district,” he said.

Winkler also said she was excited to get started on the work in her new position.