South Colonie names Haertel to lead the district’s DEI work

At the start of the 2022-23 school year, South Colonie announced the appointment of Mr. James Haertel to lead the district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. In addition to his role as a member of the Music Department, Haertel will continue to work alongside the South Colonie DEI Committee to enhance the overall school environment, addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity across the district. 

James Haertel joined Colonie Central High School in 2017 as a member of the Music Department.  Prior to his tenure at Colonie Central High School in 2020, Haertel received tenure at Chatham Central High School in 2016.  Haertel has worked with students in courses such as symphonic bands, audition based wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, chamber music ensembles, all levels of music theory, and small group lessons for all band instruments.  He also is the faculty advisor of Colonie Central High School’s Gender/Sexuality Alliance, and Co-faculty advisor/Co-director/and Vocal Music Director for Colonie Central High School’s drama club Line ‘n Cue. 

Born and raised in Latham, New York, Haertel attended Shaker High School He went on to earn his Bachelor of Music degree at SUNY Potsdam-The Crane School of Music with a concentration in Music Education and Flute Performance.  He holds a Master of Music degree from The University of Hartford-The Hartt School of Music with a concentration in Music Education/Pedagogy.  

Haertel continues his education through working towards his School Building Level Administration Certificate at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, involving himself with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for The Empire State Youth Orchestra.  

When discussing his new position Haertel said, “I am so excited to work with the entire South Colonie community to make our district a place where we all belong.  South Colonie is one of the most diverse schools in the Capital District and I believe that is our biggest strength.  I’d like to thank the South Colonie Central School District for making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work such an important part of our school community.  DEI work includes all of us figuring out how to walk through life together.  I’m excited for the journey!”

South Colonie is a community committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence. We firmly believe that we can best promote excellence by fostering opportunities for our diverse group of students, faculty and staff and by creating a climate of respect that is supportive of their success.  Further, we recognize that the responsibility for excellence, diversity and inclusion lies with all of us at South Colonie: Board of Education, district leadership, administration, faculty, staff and students.