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Community Says Thanks and Goodbyes to School Board Members Fuehrer and Singer

BoardLeadership2020aAs the school year draws to a close, two leaders of the Board of Education completed their service. At the June 21, 2020 meeting, there were many thanks and goodbyes to Board President Pamela Fuehrer and Board Vice President Alison Singer. Here are remarks from the PT Council, the League of Women Voters, the Superintendent and the two departing Board members themselves:

Dalya Kahn, President of the Scarsdale PT Council

On behalf of PT Council, I extend a sincere thank you to all the retirees who were recognized earlier this evening. They are what make Scarsdale Schools the special place we treasure. We appreciate all the talent, time and energy they have given to the Scarsdale schools, and wish them well in their next adventures.

And to mark the final board meeting of the school year, I also wish to thank Board President Pam Fuehrer, Vice President Alison Singer, our Board liaison to the PTC, Amber Yusuf and all members of the Board of Education, Dr. Thomas Hagerman, and the entire cabinet for your dedicated service and commitment to our children’s education. The PTC looks forward to continued collaboration with you all next year.

This Board, working with the administration, has been challenged perhaps more than any other. We acknowledge the tremendous and almost impossible job you had this year, and thank you for leading us through these difficult times. You’ve had to oversee the District during a once in a lifetime pandemic, a move to remote schooling, and a racial reckoning. These were issues no Board had faced, and solutions were often not readily apparent. You all devoted enormous amounts of time, energy and care to working with the administration to arrive at the best possible outcomes. We know this hasn’t been easy. But we also know that you’ve always done what you believed was best for the District.

I have the honor tonight of also recognizing the two outgoing members of the Board of Education, Pam Fuehrer and Alison Singer, as they complete their board service.

Pam and Alison - We salute your willingness to contribute your time and expertise to our District over the past years. You are two of the hardest working volunteers in our District. We realize that Board work has often taken you away from your own families, which, during this past year, has been especially challenging, as our own kids needed us more than ever. We also recognize that the time we see you in Board meetings is just a fraction of the hours you have devoted to this District. And we know you have worked so hard because you care. You care about our children’s education, about our schools being the best they can possibly be, and about the future of the community. Both of you have worked to guarantee that Scarsdale schools maintain their standard of excellence and continue to grow and innovate towards an even brighter future.

Alison, thank you for your 3 years of service on the Board, during the last of which you led as vice president. From the start, we knew you were committed to ensuring that all our students’ needs and concerns were met and addressed. Throughout your tenure and especially this past year, we have benefited from your experience representing people with disabilities. But we also know that you have always worked hard to represent all students in our District. You have taken the time to attend workshops, research best practices, and share your knowledge with the Board. You have also listened thoughtfully at Board meetings, applied your keen intellect to the issues facing the District, and have been unafraid to state your opinion. We appreciate your service and will miss your voice.

Pam, thank you for your 6 years of service on the Board, including your year and a half as Board president. Your leadership, organization, and confidence have been great assets to our community. You have always approached your role with extraordinary grace, respect, and seriousness. Even this past year, when Board meetings were often emotional and heated and went late into the night, your consistently calm demeanor helped the Board navigate through difficult situations. We have benefited from your commitment to community engagement and your willingness to respond to virtually each and every community member who has reached out to the Board. In addition, your extensive knowledge of management has allowed this group to be productive and advance numerous goals and initiatives throughout these years. Thank you for your dedication to our children and all you have given to our District.

We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for giving so selflessly of your time and working so hard to make sure our schools are the best place to learn and teach in the country.

Alissa Baum, President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale

The League Board wishes to thank outgoing Board of Education members, Pam Fuehrer and Alison Tepper Singer for their dedicated service to the Scarsdale School District.

Pam, you served as Board President at an extraordinarily difficult time. There was virtually no precedent for the situation you and your fellow Board members encountered this past year. Not just this year, but throughout your tenure as a school leader-- as a community volunteer and a Board member--you have enhanced the education available to our children through your focus on improving curriculum and programming and through your efforts to broaden outreach to the public. We appreciate your gentle touch and sensitivity as you discussed the issues facing the District as well as your moderate tone during public comment. You truly have been a workhorse dedicated to your role.

Alison, you have been an incredible advocate for special education and student mental health and wellbeing. Your personal and professional experience, reflected in your thoughtful questions and comments, informed Board discussion on the importance of understanding diverse student needs and ensured the inclusion of all children, no matter how they learn. Your great breadth of knowledge, from budgeting and finance to facilities and school safety, contributed to sound Board decisions. In calm as well as in fraught moments, you listened to everyone and remained fair and level-headed.

You both have demonstrated a commitment to maintain and enhance the quality of the Scarsdale school system. You both should be proud of the legacy you leave behind as Scarsdale Board of Education members. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Dr. Thomas Hagerman

When it came time for Dr. Hagerman to say goodbye to Pam and Alison he said, “This agenda item brings me no joy. Saying goodbye to two experienced board members is a profound loss for the district.” He called the duo, “thoughtful, deliberative and informed” and said both have “significant interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence” and have “been adept at building consensus and moving forward on a positive trajectory.”

He said, “Pam and Alison, you have both been exemplars of best practices. You have been committed to the growth and development of yourselves and other board members.”

Turning to Pam he said, “I have known you almost my entire time in the district. To say that we have been through a lot is an understatement. … There has been a tremendous transformation in the district over the past seven years and your leadership has been involved at every level….I will miss that connection and support. There is lore about the people who have shaped our district. Certainly Thomas Sobol, Eric Rothschild, and Judy Fox come to mind. I am certain that history will also remember you as one of those icons. You have dedicated your life to our schools and the lasting impact of your work will be your legacy.”

To Alison he said, “Your reputation preceded your seat at the board table. Your prior positions were distinguished by your deep commitment to special needs students and mental health issues… The skills you cultivated in your professional and volunteer activities translated into your leadership on the board. You have been a clear communicator, an effective problem solver and a trusted partner. Your advocacy of all children was omnipresent and you served as a reminder of our responsibilities around wellness and well-being for all families. You reminded us of the essential partnership between the Board and the staff to our district’s success. Most important, you always took the high road with honesty, integrity and humility…. The only solace is that we know you will remain connected to our work moving forward.”

“I want to thank you both for your accomplishments over the past years. What we will remember the most is the deep bonds you have formed with so many district staff members. It is these relationships that are the hallmark of a Scarsdale education and it is also those enduring relationships that will be your legacy here, so thank you.”

The Superintendent’s remarks were followed by thanks from Board members Carl Finger, Amber Yusuf and Ron Schulhof. You can watch them here

Alison Singer said she was “Grateful to have the opportunity to serve and want to thank you and the former board member with whom I served….Pam has been an inspiring leader – you keep your cool through the most challenging situations.” She called Fuehrer, an “effective and devoted public servant,” and thanked the administration and the cabinet for their “poise, grace and compassion.” She said, “I am so grateful to all of you for your heroic efforts. I have never met a more dedicated group of educators … I am even more in awe now that I have had an inside view … I have learned so much by talking and listening to you our students and wish all of our students good health and great joy.”

Pam Fuehrer explained, “My husband grew up here and graduated in the class of 1986. He insisted we raise our children here….He was right…. The focus of everyone was the best way to use their passions to make the best impression on student lives. Our children thrive within this culture. Thanks so much to each of you for giving me this gift.”

She continued, “Alison, my latest and greatest co-chair. You brought oversight and governance into perfect focus….I will treasure this phase of my life… Serving has been an honor.

The Board will hold their reorganization meeting where they will elect new leaders on July 7, 2021 at 3:30 pm.

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