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  7. Welcome Back to School:...

The 2020-2021 school year is almost upon us and I hope that everyone had a healthy and safe summer vacation! The first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Although much of our time has been dedicated to safely reopening our school buildings in the fall, many things have been happening in the District since graduation. Through July and August, staff members have been spending time getting ready for the upcoming school year.


The Human Resources Department has been busy this summer ensuring that the District is fully staffed for a successful 2020-21 school year.  

We are very excited to welcome new teachers who will provide high-quality instruction to our students. Along with our new teachers we are welcoming a new guidance counselor and speech therapist.  

Our Operations and Maintenance department has been working hard to ensure that our buildings are clean and safe to welcome back staff and students. We have hired three new members of the team to continue this work throughout the school year.  

Our new mechanic in transportation will work to ensure that the school busses are safe for students.  

Dr. Camille Harrelson has joined Averill Park as the new Director of Special Education. Dr. Harrelson has spent 24 years working in education, teaching for 10 years before entering into an administrative role. Prior to joining APCSD, Dr. Harrelson was the Director of Pupil Services at Niskayuna CSD.

Kate Dorgan has assumed new responsibilities as our Director of Teacher and Student Supports.  

Josh Gela was appointed the new principal at Poestenkill Elementary School after serving APCSD in other capacities since 2005. Most recently, he was the Assistant Principal at Algonquin Middle School.

Dr. Brian Rhode takes over as the new Assistant Principal at AMS. Dr. Rhode has also been with APCSD since 2005, teaching at multiple levels before working as the Director of Professional Development and Teacher Evaluation.


Throughout the summer, we have been providing professional development to our instructional staff, including:

  • Grade level / department teams on curriculum development
  • Google Classroom for beginners and advanced users
  • Blended teaching instructional methods
  • Assessment, feedback and digital tools
  • How to support the social emotional needs of students.

More opportunities will be available on upcoming Superintendent Conference days for all staff.


The Chromebook 1:1 initiative has been expanded to include all students in grades 6-12.

The District changed its internet provider in collaboration with other NERIC school districts to save on bandwidth. This will allow us to increase bandwidth as needed at a lower cost.

Laptops have been prepared for high school and middle school teachers, so that all teachers in grades 6-12 will have devices with webcams for virtual learning.


Throughout the District, bottle filling stations have been updated and hand sanitizing stations are being installed.

In the high school, the weight room is being renovated. The boys and girls locker rooms and team rooms have been repainted. New trophy cases for alumni and Hall of Famers were installed. New scoreboards were set up on the football field and a new PA system has been installed for the sports complex. New sports shelters and sun canopies were delivered for the soccer field and a new wrestling mat was purchased. Maintenance and repairs brought the tennis courts back to life and the gymnasium was repainted.

At the middle school, repairs were made to the blue gym.

At Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary, the gym floor was screened and coated. Drainage was fixed on the outdoor fields. Over at Poestenkill Elementary, new signage was added to the exterior and main entrance.

All of us here at Averill Park Central School District can’t wait to begin the new school year with all of you! Thank you to all of our staff members that have helped prepare for a successful launch to the 2020-2021 school year. Your commitment to our mission of meeting the needs of and creating opportunities for every student every day is exceptional.