Dr. Cook’s Welcome Back Letter to Staff- Superintendent’s Conference Day, Sept. 4, 2018

August, 2018 

Dear CCSD Staff Members: 

I hope your summer has been filled with fun, relaxation and time well spent with family and friends. It is with great enthusiasm that I officially welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year.

Here, in the Catskill Central School District, we will continue our motto “Cats Can, Cats Will.” I anticipate this being an extremely exciting, challenging, innovative and productive school year.

Our goal this year is improving teaching, learning and student achievement as we prepare ALL of our students for college, careers, and life in high performing schools. We all know that effective teaching results in quality student learning. Effective strategies and practices implemented by teachers in the classrooms will play a critical role in achieving our primary goal. However, in order to get the desired results we are capable of achieving, it is going to take hard/smart work, dedication, commitment and excellence from ALL CCSD staff members and stakeholders. It must be a collaborative TEAM effort! 

Research suggests that the quality of classroom instruction, more than any other factor, has the greatest impact on student learning. Creating positive school/class environments that are conducive to teaching and learning is our priority. Getting better results in student achievement is our goal. Albert Einstein stated, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Old teaching practices will have to give way to more effective, innovative teaching methods that are measurable by student achievement gains. The old results we once sought are no longer good enough. Our students must now be able to compete not only with students across the state of New York, but also with students globally. That is why every one of us will be held accountable for the job that we do in positively transforming our schools and students. 

I look forward to working with you and I am excited about what the future holds for our students as we expand opportunities for them by improving teaching and learning in every classroom, in all of our safe, clean, welcoming schools. Together, we will strive to exemplify excellence in all that we do and make a positive difference in the lives of our students. We must be Champions for Children!

Over the summer break, we were fortunate to hire the following staff:


New Hire

Title / Location 


Dr. Kerri Brown

Assistant to the Superintendent for Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Ms. Rochelle Hoot

Mr. Benjamin Bragg

Assistant Principal-CHS

Mr. Matthew Robinson

Mr. Nathaniel Koester

Spanish Teacher-CHS

Mr. Enis Egedmir 

Mr. Seth Dowling

Music Teacher

Ms. Kristina Giangreco

Ms. Jennifer Zindle-Manning

Special Education Teacher-CMS

Mr. Thomas Quinn

Ms. Sara Lenahan

Elementary Teacher- CMS

Ms. Rhonda Kistenger

Dr. Edward Bein

Leave Replacement Science Teacher-CMS

Ms. Brianna Funck

Ms. Felisa Sheskin

Spanish Teacher- CMS

Ms. Cecilia Sanson

Ms. Kristie Allen

Long-Term Substitute- TVI Teacher-CMS

Ms. Dawn D’Elia

Math Teacher- CMS

Newly Created Position

Ms. Emily Aptekar

English Teacher- CMS

Newly Created Position

Ms. Caitlin Sharkey -Davis

Physical Education Teacher-CES

Mr. Matthew McMahon

Ms. Tara Beers

Speech Teacher- CES

Ms. Deborah Von Atzingen- Retiring 10/2018

Ms. Amy Kent

Leave Replacement-Special Education Teacher-CES

Ms. Melissa Ritter

Ms. Diane Ashley 

School Nurse at CES

Ms. Amanda Sigda

September 4, 2018 is a Professional Development Day for staff and all are expected to attend. The Professional Development Day schedule is attached to this document. In an attempt to maximize time for staff to prepare for Opening Day, I removed the Annual Mandated Training off the Professional Day Program. 

You will responsible for reading the four Mandated Training presentations by Friday, September 28, 2018. The presentations can be found on the District’s website in the “Quick Link’s” section, under Annual Mandated Training. You are also required to complete the verification sheet to certify that you read the presentations.

As a former teacher and principal, I know how important it is for teachers to come in and prepare their classrooms prior to the first day of school. Please contact the clerical staff in the Main Office, of your assigned location, to verify that your classroom is accessible. Our custodians are working diligently to clean and prepare for Opening Day as well. I want to ensure that you can safely enter your classroom without impeding with their progress. 

In closing, the Members of the Board of Education and I welcome you back to the Catskill Central School District. Best wishes for an extremely rewarding and successful school year. 

I look forward to seeing you at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.


Dr. Ronel Cook

Superintendent of Schools


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