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July 8, 2010

CCS new superintendent settles in

— It’s been less than a week, but C.J. Hebert says his transition from Queensbury to Cooperstown has been fairly smooth so far. Hebert said everyone has been very welcoming, helpful and forthcoming with getting me up to speed.

Hebert, who was the high school principal at Hudson Falls Central School for eight years, began his duties as superintendent at CCS on July 1. He replaced Mary Jo McPhail, who served as the district superintendent for 13 years and retired at the end of June.

Hebert and his wife, Tammy, are in the process of moving to the community. They are currently renting a house in the village. According to Hebert, the drive from Queensbury to Cooperstown takes a little more than two hours.

Hebert said he had not spent a lot of time in Cooperstown or the area before his appointment as superintendent. He said his ties mostly have to do with baseball, having come to Doubleday Field a few times to watch the teams from Corinth play.

Hebert taught English at Corinth Central School from 1988-98 and was the high school principal there from 1998-2002.

CCS Board of Education President Anthony Scalici said Hebert has had an outstanding career as a teacher and administrator. We believe that he has all of the skills necessary to continue moving our school district forward, he said.

On Tuesday, Hebert said he believes any time there is a change in superintendents at a district it is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the positive initiatives that have already been going on. It is also a good time to reevaluate programs, procedures and trends to see if there are any areas that can use some updating, said Hebert.

It is my intention to not only meet with the folks within the school community, but to obtain an objective outlook at the district’s progress from a number of different lenses, said Hebert.

As a superintendent, one really wants to look at the educational process at a more universal standpoint, said Hebert. He said as a high school principal he was very much concerned with Regents results, extra curricular activities and budgeting from an expenditure standpoint. As a superintendent, Hebert said he will be looking at a bigger picture from a K-12 perspective and how the district articulates with public and private entities. As far as the budget standpoint, Hebert said he will have to shift his focus to revenues as well.

While sitting in his office on Tuesday, Hebert said his research of CCS prior to applying for the superintendent position indicated that the district was solid and has had excellent academic results for a good number of years. Hebert said he felt confident in his decision to apply.

Hebert said his initial interactions with members of the school board were good.

They all seemed committed to education and had the students’ best interest in mind. They all appeared to be on the board for the right reasons, he added.

Because Hebert has not been here long, he has not been out and about much yet. However, he said he did get the chance to tour the Fenimore Art Museum and was very impressed.

``I am certainly interested in getting out in the community more and attending events,’’ said Hebert.

Hebert said he was here for Fathers’ Day Weekend and was unaware of the festivities planned surrounding the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Fathers’ Day Classic.

Hebert said he found it a bit odd that his neighbor was up and hammering outside the house on a Sunday morning, but didn’t think too much about it. Perhaps people around here like to get an early start on things and are eager to get to work, Hebert said he thought to himself.

According to Hebert, it was not until he and his wife walked to breakfast that he realized what was going on.

It seems like even when the village is hustling and bustling with tourists and activity there is a certain degree of family-friendly atmosphere and tolerance maintained here, said Hebert.

Hebert was among 41 people who expressed interest in the superintendent position at CCS, according to school officials. Six committees in Cooperstown were instrumental in Hebert’s selection.

``C.J. impressed us as a leader who puts students first and has the ability to develop positive relationships with the students, school staff, and the community,’’ said Cooperstown Board Vice President Mary Leonard when Hebert was appointed to the position.

``He is a dedicated educator who is committed to providing a quality education for all students.’’

Hebert received his Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary English education from State University College at Oswego and his Master of Science degree in curriculum development from State University of New York at Albany. He has three children. His youngest plans to finish the senior year at Amsterdam and the other two are both teachers _ one in Florida and one in Manhattan.

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