Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Charles V. Khoury has announced that three Ulster BOCES professionals have been honored with 2022 Awards of Excellence from the Mid-Hudson School Study Council (MHSSC) for their exceptional contributions to education.
Ulster BOCES Director of Finance and District Treasurer Lori Wightman, Ulster BOCES Secretary to the District Superintendent Shila Beck, and Ulster BOCES Board of Education President Barbara Carroll were each honored by the MHSSC for their exemplary skills, work ethic, and commitment to the students of Ulster County.
“We are fortunate to have the support of these Ulster BOCES professionals who help make enduring, positive differences in students’ lives,” Khoury said.
Wightman, a Kerhonkson native, received the Excellence in Administration Award. She has held an administrative position at Ulster BOCES for 24 of the 37 years she has worked for the agency. According to Khoury, Wightman has extensive knowledge of the complex and multifaceted BOCES budget and financial system. This expertise, along with her vast knowledge of the New York State fiscal rules and regulations for BOCES, makes her an invaluable asset to her colleagues.
“Lori leads our staff through the budgeting and State aid reporting process,” explained Ulster BOCES School Business Director Amanda Stokes. “She works tirelessly to ensure that the districts of Ulster County are provided top-notch customer service from our business office. Her work is thorough and accurate, and she is truly an excellent employee.”
Ulster BOCES Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jonah Schenker concurs with that assessment. “Over the past two years, as we navigated our way through the pandemic, Lori Wightman has been instrumental in supporting both the Ulster BOCES programs and our component districts,” he said. “As I think about Lori, her career, and her impact on Ulster BOCES, I am proud and honored that I have had a chance to work alongside her and learn from her. Ulster BOCES and the students of Ulster County are better off today because of the important work that she does.”
As Secretary to the District Superintendent, Beck, who resides in Hurley, was recognized with the Award of Excellence for Support Staff for her meticulous attention to detail in supporting the district superintendent, deputy superintendent, Ulster BOCES Board of Education, and the Ulster County School Boards Association, to name just a few.
According to Schenker, to say that Beck “goes above and beyond” would be an understatement. Her dedicated professionalism, ability to multitask, and her unwaveringly positive attitude have earned her a stellar reputation as a reliable and effective member of the central administration support team. “Shila’s relentless work ethic, her determination to make sure that everything is just right, her ability to anticipate the needs of those who she supports, and her institutional knowledge are just some of the characteristics that are fundamental in ensuring that all is right for the teachers and students of Ulster BOCES,” he said. “Ulster BOCES is a better place because Shila Beck is part of the fabric of the organization.”
Carroll, who received the Excellence in School Board Service Award, has been an Ulster BOCES Board of Education member for the past 17 years, serving as president and vice president multiple times, as well as the chair of the Board Policy Committee, School Safety Committee, Grievance Committee, and Pay Parity Committee. She has also served as president and vice president, as well as a trustee on the New Paltz Central School District’s (NPCSD) Board of Education for 13 years.
“Barbara is deeply passionate about education and what is best for our changing methods of educational delivery,” said Ulster BOCES Board Vice President Susan Gilmore. “She is forward-thinking and does not hesitate to embrace and appreciate needed change. I cherish her friendship and collegiality on the BOCES Board.”
Located on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, the MHSSC is a non-profit organization whose fundamental purpose is to bring about the improvement of education in its member school districts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. It accomplishes that purpose through the cooperative study of common educational problems, the effective diffusion of educational practices, and the stimulation of active participation of school boards, administrators, teachers, pupils, and laypersons in educational planning and activity.