South Colonie Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Buhner has announced his retirement effective March, 2020 after more than 11 years heading the district.
He made the announcement to district staff on Aug. 7. The Board of Education will begin a search for his replacement this fall and hopes to have a new superintendent in place by January.
“I have worked as a Superintendent of Schools for 16 of my 30 years in public education, and I feel extremely fortunate to be ending my career embedded in such a committed and caring professional community,” Buhner said in an email to staff. “I always say that South Colonie is unique in that it is a big place which pulls together like a small place when things become difficult. It goes without saying that a positive culture like that is not sustainable without exceptional people walking through the front doors every morning.”
Buhner came to South Colonie from the Walton Central School District in August 2008, where he was the superintendent for four years. Before that he was employed as a secondary principal, regional director, dean of students and a teacher for eight years, mostly specializing in technology electives. He replaced Superintendent Michael Marcelle who retired from South Colonie in 2008.
Many positive changes have been implemented in the district during his tenure including:
- A move from half-day to full-day Kindergarten and expansion of the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program
- Implementation of STEAM initiatives Pre-K-grade 12 and Academic Clubs such as Math Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics and Computer Programming
- Additional college articulation agreements between Colonie Central High School and the University at Albany, Siena College, Hudson Valley Community College and SUNY Adirondack
- Creation of a high school graphics arts lab and course of study
- Technology improvements district-wide including redesign of the South Colonie website, the student Chromebook initiative, and launch of the student-parent information portal Aspen
- Improved academic and social support systems for all students such as the Special Needs Continuum of Services, new social work and clinical mental health services, English as a New Language and summer school program expansion and introduction of the summer literacy academies
- Numerous facility improvements district-wide including new libraries at Forest Park and Roessleville elementary schools, safety and security upgrades, the NYSERDA solar grant project, WiFi in all buildings, reconstruction of the CCHS art, music and technology wing, roof and boiler replacements and more
“Much has been accomplished as a collective team,” Buhner said. “I am thankful to everyone for their valuable time and ongoing determination to seek continuous improvement and to provide the best learning environment possible for the children and staff of South Colonie. To the credit of all, many of these accomplishments took place during one of the deepest and most difficult recessions ever faced by the nation, state, Capital Region and our school district.”
As the district gets ready to begin another school year, Buhner’s last, his focus during his last several months on the job will be on making sure the district has an “excellent” fall semester, and assisting the school board and district through its search process for his replacement.
“I want to offer a sincere thank you to everyone for all they have done and continue to do for our students,” Buhner said. “As always, I look forward to working with our talented staff this fall, and I wish you a great start to the 2019-2020 school year.”