Canajoharie and Fort Plain share special
education director Theodore Arndt
After 12 years of teaching special education
in the Fort Plain, Theodore Arndt felt he could use his experience
to manage the entire program.
Now, as the new director of special education
for both the Fort Plain and the Canajoharie Central School
districts, it’s his job
make sure that students in both districts receive the services they
need. That means if a student has an issue reading, it’s up to him
to match the student with a teacher or program that can help.
“I like to think of me as approachable and
strategic,” he said. “The faculties in both districts have a lot to
offer if we can provide them with a forum to show what they can do.
Then we can even provide better services for our students.”
Mr. Arndt’s position represents another
example of both districts sharing services. The two districts
currently share a food services manager and will continue the
transition to a central business office operation provided through
HFM BOCES with other districts in the area.
“This is our first attempt at academically
sharing services,” said Fort Plain Superintendent Douglas Burton,
“and it should be mutually beneficial for both districts.”
Mr. Arndt – who lives in Fort Plain but was
born in Washington, D.C. – received his bachelors degree in marine
transportation and humanities from SUNY Maritime College, and his
masters degree in special education from The College of Saint Rose.
He said he “loves the area” and looks forward
to exploring the shared services between the two districts and
considering the options where they can work together.
“In this position, I won’t have the direct
instruction with the kids, but I feel I have a greater influence
over a number of kids,” he said. “I think one of my strongest
qualities is that I’m willing to listen. I’m at my best when we’re
In both districts, special education services
can run the gamut from reading help to helping a student get around
Mr. Arndt says there are a lot of people –
especially celebrities – who’ve required special education services
including Tom Cruise (who has dyslexia), Thomas Edison, and John F.
Kennedy. He said that needing special education services should not
and does not mean a student can’t achieve success in school and
“If we’re doing our job right, the world will
look at our students for what they have, not what they don’t have,”