New superintendent, new board members for Sullivan West

Posted 5/25/22

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The big news at the May 18 Sullivan West school board meeting was that the board formally announced that interim superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bressler had been selected for …

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New superintendent, new board members for Sullivan West


LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The big news at the May 18 Sullivan West school board meeting was that the board formally announced that interim superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bressler had been selected for a four-year term as the district’s new superintendent.

In other important happenings, two new board members were elected by district voters, taking over from outgoing board members Ken Cohen and Juliete Gaebel: Michael Ellmauer defeated Craig Passante 500 to 252, while Jackie Rutledge defeated Kristen Johnson 466 to 264.

In addition, Rose Joyce-Turner was re-elected and will serve another term as president of the school board.

In other electoral news, voters approved Proposition No. 1 (the budget) by a vote of 624 to 159, and also approved Proposition No. 2 (the creation of a capital reserve fund), as 624 folks cast ballots in favor of the plan, compared to 149 nay votes.

“Congratulations to Rose Joyce-Turner, who was re-elected, and to Michael Ellmauer and Jackie Rutledge as our new board members,” said Bressler, calling the outgoing board members “irreplaceable,” and adding of the newly-minted board members, “We are happy to have them, and look forward to our future work together.”

In a letter to the community dated May 19, the board noted that Bressler had served as interim superintendent since January, succeeding Stephen Walker, who moved on the greener pastures last winter.

Bressler was approved as the new head by a unanimous vote, and according to the board “was selected from a group of 13 potential candidates after a comprehensive search process... [which] included a community-wide survey and the input from community and stakeholder groups in the beginning of the search process... The results of the survey concluded that Sullivan West stakeholders, across the board, shared that they want a superintendent who can capitalize on the perceived strengths of the district and, as a visible and effective communicator, build a culture that continues to focus on doing what is best for our students.”

Prior to coming to the Sullivan West Central School District, Bressler earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Binghamton University, a master’s degree in elementary and special education from Mount St. Mary College, and a doctorate in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William and Mary.

“We are confident and thrilled that Dr. Bressler will continue her leadership and vision here with our Bulldog community,” said Joyce-Turner.

During her superintendent’s comments, Bressler began by thanking “the entire Sullivan West community for such a strong turnout at the polls yesterday... the budget passed with 80 percent confidence and the capital reserve fund can now be created.”

In other matters

Cindy Snedeker was selected as the Sullivan West Standout for April. She currently works in the high school mail/copy room, but has worked in various roles in both buildings. According to Bressler, Snedeker was “nominated by her peers because she always comes to work with a smile on her face... administration relies on Cindy, who will always step in, cover people whenever needed, and she has kept the copying machines running when supplies ran low this winter due to supply chain issues.”

Kathy Tampone, an elementary school instructor, recently received a Mid-Hudson School Study Council Teacher of Excellence Award. Her nomination letter described her teaching career. “Ms. Tampone has taught for 31 years and is a consummate professional, an overcomer, a problem solver, an innovator and a leader in the elementary school’s third grade team... her caring and sensitive nature also allows her to reach struggling students with empathy and professionalism.”

Student board member report

Although unable to attend the meeting in person, student board member Dylan Sager submitted a written report, starting with a “recap of recent events” as the student body returned from spring break.

“This is never an easy time, as teachers struggle to wrangle the summer-oriented students back into the school mindset for an extra two months,” he said. “Many students are preparing for final exams and the first set of Regents exams in two years. Our AP students recently completed their tests and now begin the waiting process, full of crossed fingers and hoping for a three, four, or five.”

On the sports scene, Sager said, “We see our spring sports fight through the strange weather of spring with snow and rain some days, and insane heat on others. This has not stopped our Bulldogs [from] fighting for top spots in the section. Girls’ golf has exceeded expectations as the team, led by Gabby Cohen, heads to sectional this year. The girls’ track team is also performing well, as they hope to take first at this year’s sectional championship... We will see some of our best boy and girl athletes attend state quals [qualifers] this year, as well as hoping for a spot at the state meet.”

The next regularly scheduled Sullivan West school board meeting is set for Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m. For information, contact district clerk Christina Kautz at 845/482-4610 ext. 3000 or email


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