Letter from Fred Couse, Board Member
In about two weeks, Dr. Martin Handler will step aside as Superintendent of School of the Pine Plains Central School District; a post he has held for the past nine years.
As I begin my 23rd year as a Trustee of the District, I’ve had a long look at the Superintendents that have served our District. Dr. Handler is the FIFTH I have worked beside. I want to take this opportunity of his departure to say he has been the finest of that group. I am proud to have partnered with him for those nine years.
During Dr. Handler’s tenure here, he has accomplished major steps forward for our District. When he arrived, the District’s academic standing (as measured by State Testing and Regents results) was not particularly impressive. As he departs, those same standings have risen to the top quartile of the County. Graduation rates have risen. Dr. Handler introduced the first “one to one” computer program in the County. Our District was also the first to offer full day Pre-Kindergarten program with no cost or limits. He has been a masterful steward of our facilities and leaves the District with no debt burden. He has fostered relations with the District’s three collective bargaining unit that has crafted fair and equitable settlements before the prior agreement expired. Such programs as Mr. Murray’s Living History courses and the District’s United Basketball Program have engaged students who might otherwise fall thru the cracks; all introduced during Dr. Handler’s tenure. He pushed hard for the County to supply cameras for our bus fleet to insure the safety of our students.
He exits in the noise of controversy around COVID that has permeated the Nation and, as our recent election proved, is a small minority in our community. It’s worth pointing out that the District has navigated thru the pandemic without a loss of life among students and staff.
When you run into Dr. Handler in the next few weeks, be sure to thank him and wish him well on the next chapter of his life. We are significantly richer for his time here.
Chip Couse, Board Member