Ulster BOCES is proud to welcome New Paltz resident Sarah Dudley-Lemek as its new Director of Instructional Services. Dudley-Lemek, who assumed her new duties on March 1, comes to Ulster BOCES from the Highland Central School District. She worked for Highland for 24 years, most recently as Assistant Superintendent.
According to Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Charles V. Khoury, “Ms. Dudley-Lemek’s skills and experience make her exceptionally well qualified to take the helm of the Instructional Services division, which offers a broad spectrum of services and resources for the local, regional, and broader education communities. A highly experienced administrator and educational leader, she will help set our course as we continue to provide expert guidance in the areas of school improvement, staff development and professional learning, educational technology, and State-funded and grant-funded programs.”
During her time at Highland, Dudley-Lemek played a vital role in carrying out various educational changes and initiatives. Among her many accomplishments were guiding the District’s implementation of New York State Learning Standards, shepherding a PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program, leading a study focusing on teaching with poverty in mind, and spearheading the formation of a community-wide committee focusing on diversity, inclusivity, and racial equity. She also gained extensive experience in the areas of educational technology, human resources, and school safety.
Prior to becoming Assistant Superintendent at Highland, she was an Assistant Principal at Highland High School, a Social Studies teacher, and the Social Studies Department Chairperson.
Discussing the goals she hopes to achieve at Ulster BOCES, Dudley-Lemek said, “I want to build our partnerships with our component districts so that we can move Ulster County schools and students forward, especially after the last couple years of the pandemic and being in a holding pattern.”
Throughout her career, Dudley-Lemek noted, she has been closely connected to Ulster BOCES. “I went with many of my teachers and participated in what was happening here, so I bring the kind of District eye to educational change,” she remarked.
Looking ahead, Dudley-Lemek sees challenges as well as opportunities. “We need to overcome some of the gaps, and some of the trauma, that the pandemic has caused, both for our leadership and for our students and families,” she suggested. “But it’s also important that we look at what positives have come from the pandemic in terms of new skills that we’ve learned and new opportunities we’ve had in the areas of technology and in emphasizing individual students’ learning, including social-emotional learning.”
As an educator, she says, social justice has always been important to her, and she is looking forward to promoting it on a county level. “From very early in my career, I wanted to look at the individual student and make sure that every student felt welcome,” she said. Referring to various events that have occurred nationally over the past couple of years, she declared, “I think it’s been a natural progression to look closely not only at race, but also gender identity, abilities, anything that makes our students individuals. We want to make sure they are comfortable being who they are when they enter our buildings and being accepted for that.”
Dudley-Lemek’s educational qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching, Social Studies, from SUNY New Paltz. She also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in School Building Leadership/School District Leadership.
In her spare time, Dudley-Lemek loves to garden, travel, and read, especially books about history. She has two daughters, both of whom are now in college.
- Instructional Services