Ulster BOCES Board Member Receives Award for Excellence from Mid-Hudson School Study Council

Ulster BOCES Board Member Receives Award for Excellence from Mid-Hudson School Study Council

West Hurley resident Robert Curran, a longtime member of the Ulster BOCES Board of Education who represents the Onteora Central School District, has earned a 2024 Mid-Hudson School Study Council (MHSSC) Award for Excellence in School Board Service. Curran was nominated by Ulster BOCES Board of Education President Susan Gilmore, who represents the Highland Central School District; Board Trustee Christopher Farrell, who represents the Kingston City School District; and Ulster BOCES Executive Secretary and Board Clerk Roxanne Babcock. 

Curran was elected to a three-year term on the Ulster BOCES Board of Education in 2006, and has been re-elected five times. He is active in New York State School Boards Association activities, as well as in the Ulster County School Boards Association, serving as that organization’s president for many years. During his 18-year tenure on the Ulster BOCES Board of Education, Curran has served as the Board president, vice president, and Audit Committee chair. He has also been a member of the Grievance Committee and the Pay Parity Committee.

Gilmore, Farrell, and Babcock all cited Curran’s devotion to education, as evidenced by his advocacy for all learners, his professional responsiveness, and his background knowledge of education law, finance, and personnel as factors in their nomination. They also pointed to the educational aspects of his volunteer work for United Way, the Ulster Literacy Association, and the Ulster County Office of the Aging. 

According to Gilmore, Curran has a near-perfect attendance record at Ulster BOCES Board meetings, and is deeply connected to his home school district. Gilmore views him as steadfast, dedicated, and reliable. “I highly respect [Curran’s] independence and his clear reasoning why he casts his votes,” said Gilmore. “He always follows his conscience, and Ulster BOCES is fortunate to have him as part of our amazing organization.” 

Babcock recalled how when a former Ulster BOCES superintendent retired in December 2010, Curran successfully navigated the transition period with an interim superintendent, heading the interview process and “leading the charge” in hiring a successor. “His attention to detail and concern for both Ulster BOCES and the new district superintendent during the contract negotiation period was evident,” she said, adding that in her role as Board clerk she has worked closely with Curran during his tenure as Board president. “He approaches topics that are presented to the Board through a financial lens, with a focus on student achievement. He brings a logical thought process to Board meetings and can always be counted on to ask questions, offer suggestions, and look for common ground solutions.” 

Farrell echoed Babcock’s sentiments. “Never will you find a school board member who is as diligent in reviewing all agenda items for upcoming meetings,” Farrell said. “He asks thoughtful questions and prompts the Board to think about actions before pursuing them.” 

Curran accepted his award at the MHSSC Annual Awards Meeting & Celebration on Wednesday, May 8, at the Fieldstone Auditorium in North Rockland. 

Curran will retire from his Board service at the conclusion of his term on June 30, 2024. “Ulster BOCES is a better place because of Bob Curran’s years of dedication,” said District Superintendent Jonah Schenker, Ed.D.  

Located in Newburgh on the Mount St. Mary College campus, the MHSSC is a non-profit corporation whose fundamental purpose is to bring about the improvement of education in its member school districts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The Council accomplishes this 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.

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