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Get to know Bethlehem’s newest administrators

Filed in Archive by on July 6, 2016

As part of the approved 2016-17 school district budget, Bethlehem added two positions that are intended to provide professional support to teachers, school counselors and building administrators. At its July 5 meeting, the Board of Education appointed two longtime area educators to fill these roles.

Laurel Jones, a former Bethlehem teacher who returns to the district after a year as an Assistant Principal at Mohonasen, will serve as coordinator of the district’s Response to Intervention (RTI) program, a tiered instructional program designed to support struggling learners in the early grades at the district’s five elementary schools. In addition, Jones will work as a Technology Integration Specialist, developing curriculum and collaborating with teachers to support use of technology in elementary classrooms and helping to integrate the use of hardware, software and Internet resources in support of student learning.

Kristen Connor, who has 13 years of experience as a counselor in Niskayuna, will serve as Bethlehem’s new K-12 School Counselor Supervisor. In this role, Connor will provide for the implementation and evaluation of comprehensive school counseling programs that promote academic achievement and success for students. These will be developed in collaboration with counselors across all grade levels to ensure comprehensive school counseling programs meet the needs of all students and provide opportunities and equity in meeting students’ academic goals.

Laurel Jones – Elementary Administrator for RTI/K-5 Technology Integration Specialist


Tell us a little about your background in education.Laurel

For 11 years I was a third, fourth, and kindergarten teacher at Clarksville and Eagle Elementary Schools. In addition, I completed a 6 month sabbatical working in our elementary schools focusing on using technology in the classrooms.

I am currently an Assistant Principal at Bradt Primary School and Pinewood Intermediate School in the Mohonasen Central School District.

Where did you attend college/graduate school?

I received my B.S. in Applied Economics from Ithaca College, Masters in Elementary Education from Boston College, School Building Leadership degree from The College of Saint Rose

What prompted you to choose a career in education?

Actually, this is a second career for me. My first was as a project manager for Capital One in the business world. I went back to school because I come from a family of teachers and I was looking for a more fulfilling career where I knew I could make a difference. Once I began teaching and working with children, I realized how much I enjoyed being part of a school team. The days that I spent in the classroom are some of my fondest memories. Now, I will continue to work upon my experience in a leadership role to make a broader impact. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to return to my home district to do this in.

What are you looking forward to most in Bethlehem?

I am really looking forward to coming home. I was a teacher in the district for 11 years and my two children go to Elsmere.  I am excited to join the administrative team in Bethlehem and I am looking forward to making a positive impact on our school community.

When you are not at work, what do you like to do?

When I am not at work, I am a full time mom and really enjoy spending time with my family. Baseball, softball, and hockey schedules keep us busy with sports all year long. It also gives me the opportunity to meet many families and develop relationships in our community.

What will you be reading/listening to this summer?

This summer I hope to read some professional books as well as some for entertainment. I grab books off of Overdrive and read them on my iPad. I also love reading with my children and sharing our love of stories together. I have recently gotten them into using Play Away’s to listen to books (if you haven’t tried them yet, check out the library!)

 

Kristen Connor – K-12 School Counselor Supervisor


Tell us a little about your background in education.K-Connor

I started my career in higher education working in admissions after graduating from college. I loved traveling, meeting with families and working on a college campus. I quickly realized I wanted to be more involved in all aspects of a student’s academic career. That led me to back to Niskayuna where I coached multiple sports, substitute taught at elementary schools and interned in the high school Counseling Center. Upon completion of my graduate degree I was offered a position at Niskayuna High School and have been there ever since. During my thirteen years at Niskayuna I have extended myself beyond the counseling department and have taken on many administrative roles to better understand how a district operates.

Where did you attend college/graduate school? 

I attended Hartwick College where I majored in Psychology and played women’s lacrosse for 4 years. After landing a job in college admissions in Boston for two years and New Hampshire for a year I moved home to attend Sage Graduate School. Shortly after completing my master’s degree I went back to St. Rose to complete my education leadership certificate.

What prompted you to choose a career in education?

My mom was an elementary school teacher so I spent time with her in the classroom. I knew I wanted to work with kids but didn’t know at what level until I completed an internship my senior year in college. I worked with a middle school counselor and loved the ­­­­position. I knew I would eventually get back into public schools after working in college admissions and coaching for a few years.  I was fortunate to have been offered a position as a high school counselor in Niskayuna, where I attended high school. It was a great opportunity and one I am grateful for.

What are you looking forward to most in Bethlehem? 

I am looking forward to working with such an experienced staff. Bethlehem has always been known as a great place to work. I am excited for the new challenges that lie ahead and collaborating with colleagues.

When you are not at work, what do you like to do?

When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my family. My husband and I have a four- and two-year old who keep us busy.  We like to take family trips and are always looking forward to the next adventure!

What will you be reading/listening to this summer?

Well, we have dance parties daily in my house. My kids love to sing and dance so we enjoy listening to tunes.  As for reading, I hope to finish two books on vacation that I started last year (it has been impossible to finish a book with two toddlers!)