BOCES leader gives introduction to Johnstown School Board

New HFM BOCES District Superintendent David Ziskin introduces himself to the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education Thursday night at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — New Hamilton Fulton Montgomery BOCES district Superintendent David Ziskin told the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education Thursday night that his educational organization exists to boost its component schools.

“It’s really a special responsibility we have,” he said during a presentation given at the board’s monthly session at Johnstown High School.

Ziskin introduced himself to the board — a presentation he has now delivered to a dozen districts so far this school year. He was sworn in May 29 as BOCES superintendent and started his position in August.

Ziskin is the former Fort Plain Central School District superintendent. He replaced former Interim Superintendent Anita Murphy in the position. Following a search process led by Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES District Superintendent James Dexter, guided by feedback from a community survey and several rounds of interviews with prospective candidates with the HFM BOCES Board of Education, the superintendents of component school districts and the state commissioner of education, Ziskin was selected to fill the position.

“Our emphasis is occurring in our organization in staying connected and really living our mission,” Ziskin told the Johnstown board. “We’re acting at your request.”

He said BOCES can assist the 15 component BOCES districts in its “important work” during any school year. He said BOCES also has a partnership with Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Ziskin said BOCES concentrates on “communications, cooperation and advocacy” in its educational tasks. He said BOCES strives to provide component districts with relevant programs, working with the various “chiefs” of the local school systems. He said this school year has already gotten off on the right foot with the BOCES work with new Johnstown Interim Superintendent Karen Geelan.

“Karen has jumped right in and been one of the valuable partners,” Ziskin said.

In other ways, HFM BOCES works with the Mohawk Valley School Boards Association to support more development, he said.

“This is somewhat of a well-informed board,” Ziskin said.

The new BOCES officials concluded by saying his district strives to be a “partner” with both the Johnstown school board and its stakeholders.

BOCES board President Joanne Freeman, a former president of the Johnstown board, reacquainted herself with city school officials.

“I can’t thank you enough for all that you do for our children,” she said.

Freeman served six years on the Johnstown board before being elected to the BOCES board, where she has served the past three years as president. She looked out at district officials, noting some educated her own children.

She said she looks forward to meeting with Geelan.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve education for our children,” she said.

Freeman said she hopes that BOCES has made a “seamless transition” between former BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel and now, Ziskin. In between, Murphy bridged the administrative gap.

“I look forward to our partnership,” Freeman said. “I know we can do a lot for our children.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.