New RCS chief sets goals for 2012

Higher graduation rates and an acceptable budget are two of the main goals for new Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District Superintendent Elisabeth Smith in 2012.

In early December, the RCS Board of Education appointed Smith to the position. Smith had served in an interim role since the summer, when Daniel Teplesky left for a position downstate.

Smith said she’s already taking on challenges because of her experience in the district.

“Knowing the people who work here and being able to work with them to collaboratively set some goals that make sense for this community has been the advantage,” said Smith.

One main goal is to raise student achievement. Smith said the district raised its high school graduation rate to almost 80 percent last year, but said the goal is to get to the 85 percent mark. She’s also focused on raising ELA scores for students with disabilities. The state Education Department has said the district is not meeting adequate yearly progress standards at the middle school level.

Smith takes over a district that has seen its initial proposed budget turned down by residents the past two years. The new superintendent knows that reduced state aid is a challenge to overcome for the 2012-13 school year.

“We have a community that has experienced economic setbacks,” said Smith. “Building a budget that the community will support and being able to maintain our educational programs is the challenge.”

Smith was previously a teacher in the Bethlehem Central School District. She came to RCS in January 2003 as the principal of Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School, and was the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for two years before becoming interim superintendent.

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