Harry Hoag Elementary School principal Cathy
Brucker retiring in June after 10 years in the district
After more than 25 years of working in
education, including 10 in the Fort Plain Central School District,
Harry Hoag Elementary School principal Cathy Brucker plans to retire
at the end of June.
But she’s not leaving without lots of good
memories and a strong sense of accomplishment.
Mrs. Brucker started as the district’s
director of special education before taking the principal position
three years ago. For two years, she juggled both positions, which
she said helped her to integrate special education students into the
curriculum and emphasize co-teaching.
“My initial goals were to decrease the amount
of separate settings for special education students and to include
them in the regular classroom curriculum, and we have done that,”
she said. “I wanted to give every child an opportunity to interact
with all the students and staff. And that’s not just my goal, but a
“My other goals were to foster teacher
collaboration and focus on co-teaching, and each year, we’ve moved
forward with that.”
Her duties as principal allow Mrs. Brucker to
oversee the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and
work closely with staff and students. And she said that’s exposed
her to a lot of creativity and collaboration.
“I interact a lot with students and I can also
facilitate instructional change, and that’s important. Through
teacher evaluations, I also see a lot of creativity,” she said.
“There is a lot of energetic learning going on
here and active engagement in instruction.”
Mrs. Brucker came to Fort Plain after working
as a special education director and teacher in the Northville CSD.
She’s also worked coordinating services for special education
college students at Fulton Montgomery Community College.
While she’s proud of her professional
accomplishments, she said it’s the “wonderful staff and students” in
Fort Plain that she’ll miss the most. She said the entire staff is
dedicated to improving instruction and making a difference in the
students’ lives, and she’s proud of that.
“I very much appreciate everyone’s commitment
to the education of our children,” she said. “It’s made a big
In her retirement, Mrs. Brucker plans to spend
time traveling, enjoying her family, grandchildren and friends, and
being in the outdoors (think landscaping, kayaking, and hiking). She
also plans to remain connected to education in some way and is
weighing some possible part-time opportunities.
Mrs. Brucker’s three
best memories in her own words:
1. Christmas of 2004. I was new to the
district and not sure how to fit in. Every year at Christmas, there
was an Elf program. You pick a name and create a nice Christmas
memory for the person you picked. Well that worked. I did not know
at the time my name was even entered let alone chosen by a teacher
who I didn’t really know very well. My gift from her was the
absolutely best chocolate cheesecake I have ever tasted! Later I
discovered it was her specialty. How lucky was I! I still have the
Christmas Cheesecake tin it arrived in.
2. My initial interview for the Special
Education position with the committee at large. There were 15 people
that seemed like 115 seated at a large table. As I answered the many
questions, my eyes scanned the table as I responded. As I scanned
the people, there were two in particular who always smiled. Their
smiles kept me on track throughout the interview. One of the two
ended up to be my secretary for 9 years, Meredith Yacobucci
3. Christmas brings lots of memories. This
past Christmas happened to be a very festive one. There were “elves”
everywhere. I walked into my office two days before Christmas and
there was a “kings” chair at my desk along with a pile of presents.
My elementary secretary, Patricia Nestler, somehow rounded it up to
play a trick on me. Staff and students came in to see the “queen”
for the next two days.