Superintendent's Brief


Good afternoon,

I'm going to start my brief today with a note about how we make weather-related decisions. I know most of you were probably watching the closings and delays this morning with anticipation. If you hadn't been outdoors yet or taken a drive when you saw our status, you were probably wondering why we are open.

There are many elements to consider when making the decision about whether to open school or not. It is never easy. The safety of our staff and students is always at the forefront. I can assure you that much thought, deliberation and consideration goes into every decision. There is a process and protocol that we follow any time inclement weather is forecasted. This begins as soon as there is a warning in the forecast and continues until it is resolved. As part of the process, we talk with the city about road and sidewalk conditions throughout the city. I consult with our transportation and facilities departments to make an assessment of school sidewalks, walkways and parking lots. We monitor the temperature to be aware of the possibility of freezing rain or ice and we watch the forecast carefully. We use this information to make a decision about whether we should be open, delayed or closed.

When our schools are open for students and families, we are able to provide a healthy breakfast, lunch, educational programming, and meaningful connections with adults.

If we are able to open school safely and keep kids safe, we will do it.

We understand a parent's reluctance to send their children to school when you're unsure of the weather and how it will impact your child. While we have an added focus on our attendance initiative (Project Be Here) and expect students in school every day, please know that deciding to send your child to school is your decision.

The bottom line is, there is much to consider and none of it, especially safety, is taken lightly when making decisions about school on a morning like today.

Because the forecast did call for increased snow that may impact driving conditions this evening, we did cancel after school and evening activities and events.

Schenectady Police and New York State Police continue to search for missing teen Samantha Humphrey. Police enhanced the search yesterday and are using every resource possible to bring Sam home. Her last known location was in the Stockade near the Front Street Pool. If you have any information, please call the police at 518-630-0911. We extend thoughts and prayers to Sam's family during this difficult time and continue to hope for her safe return.

Photo of Samantha Humphrey

Congratulations to Marissa Ray, a 7th and 8th grade English As a New Language (ENL) teacher at Central Park Middle School, who was named our 2023 Teacher of the Year. Marissa has been an ENL teacher at Central Park for seven years. She is exceptional and is so deserving of this honor. Several letters were written in support of her nomination. All of them speak to how Marissa connects with her students and their families, how she appreciates them, makes them feel special, sincerely cares for them and their well-being and education, and provides an inclusive environment. Many spoke about their love for Marissa and how she makes a difference. You can read some of them here. We are fortunate to have Marissa as a member of our team. She is now eligible for the New York State Teacher of the Year contest. Please join me in congratulating Marissa.

Photo of Marissa Ray 2023 Teacher of the Year

Photo of Marissa Ray and Her Students at Central Park

Photo of Superintendent Soler with Marissa Ray

Congratulations to Hamilton Elementary School for being recognized by the Chamber of Commerce with the People's Choice Award for their float in the Schenectady Holiday Parade. Students, families, staff and Hammy, the mascot, were celebrated at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.

Photo:  Hamilton ES honored at the board of education meeting for the parade award.

Students from Oneida Middle School and Schenectady High School were interviewed by the New York State Education Department about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Four of our students, Login (SHS '22), Anayia (SHS '23), Alexandria (SHS '22), and Latasha (Oneida), were featured in the powerful video which explains the importance of students being seen, heard, and valued for who they are. They did an exceptional job.

Congratulations to the Schenectady High School eSports League of Legends Team which finished the regular season ranked second in the league. They advanced to the New York Regional Championships, where they also finished in second place. Congratulations to Isaiah Moya, Tyler Fergason, Hussein Alkozaiy, Ahmed Elsiddig, Shawn Latour, Andy Ramnauth and Christopher Raffan. I'm sure we will be hearing more about them again soon.

Congratulations to Schenectady High School Senior Caiden Koczak who learned this week that he was accepted to the Albany College of Pharmacy and received a six-year Merit Scholarship. Counselor Colleen Pacella, who received the letter for Caiden at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) Superintendent's Breakfast yesterday, had the honor of presenting the letter to Caiden in class.

Schenectady High School Student Parmesh Thakoordial, who is completing his associate degree at SUNY Schenectady through the Schenectady Smart Transfer College High School Program, joined undergraduate and graduate student scholars from colleges and universities throughout New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico, for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) 2022 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Parmesh, who has been conducting research at Vale Park, is in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). He was excited to learn last month, after submitting an abstract, that he was selected to present during the prestigious conference. He is a Science: Biology concentration major. After he graduates from SUNY Schenectady, Parmesh plans to transfer for his bachelor's degree in biology or biomedical sciences and then pursue his medical degree to become a doctor. You can learn more here.

Photo of student doing presentation at conference in Philadelphia

I love ending my brief with the awesome accomplishments of our students. This is what we are about. They are fantastic and make me so proud.

I'm sure you are looking forward to the holiday recess. There's only one week to go.

Have a great weekend. Stay warm, get some rest, have some fun, and disconnect.


Anibal Soler, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Office of Teaching & Learning Newsletter

Get news and updates from our Office of Teaching and Learning. in the latest newsletter here.

Office of Teaching and Learning Newslettr

Employment Opportunities

We have a variety of employment opportunities including administrative, teaching, office and middle management, custodial, safety and security, secretarial, paraprofessional, secretarial and more.

For a complete listing and to apply, go here.


Interim Reports for students in grades 6-12 will be mailed home December 22

No school for students December 26 - January 2
Students and teachers return January 3

District Offices will be closed December 26 and 27


Alumni Profile:  Phillip DuCreay

This week's featured alumni is Phillip Ducreay, an SHS Class of 2009 graduate, currently working as a professional violinist. He credits classes he took while attending SHS with challenging him and teaching him to persevere. "The SHS Music Department was instrumental in keeping me inspired and growing"


Would you like to be featured?

If you are an alumni of SCSD and would like to be featured, let us know by completing this online form.

You can view other Alumni profiles here.

Girls Wrestling

New to Section II this year is girls wrestling. Watch the video on our Youtube Channel to meet members of the combined Niskayuna/Schenectady Girls Wrestling Team and learn about what's next for the program.


SHS Chamber Strings at NYSED

The Board of Regents hosted a holiday gathering with New York State Department of Education staff, featuring music by the Schenenctady High School Chamber Strings group, led by Orchestra Director Tracy Gelston. #schenectadyrising


Download Our Mobile App

Download our app

Catch up with the latest student stories, events, and news updates. It's everything Schenectady Schools, in your pocket. If you haven't already, download the app!

📲Download for Android https://bit.ly/3Mzposx

📲 Download for iPhone https://apple.co/3lAXbWA

MOBILE APP SUPPORT Click here to watch a short video on how to set your school and language preferences on our mobile app: hhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saNC9ek2Lqg

Schenectady Rising logo

PREVIOUS BRIEFS: For the index of Volume 1 and Volume 2 Briefs, click here.