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David W. Ziskin

Superintendent of Schools

25 High Street

Fort Plain, NY 13339





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. Cathy Brucker

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 district goal.

“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 difference.”

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.

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