John A. Coleman Catholic High School announced earlier this month that Principal James Lyons will be retiring effective Tuesday, Sept. 4. Lyons will be replaced by a pair of interim principals while the school conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Lyons, who came to Coleman six years ago, notified the Board of Trustees of his decision to retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
“The board of trustees extends their best wishes for an enjoyable retirement and wishes to thank Jim for his fulfilling service to the students, parents and faculty of the school over the last six years,” read a press release from the board’s chairman, Bryan M. Smith.
In a letter to Coleman parents, students and faculty dated Aug. 1, Smith noted that Lyons had agreed to stay on to the beginning of the 2018-19 school year to allow for a smooth transition for interim co-principals Marie Anderson and Ellen Anderson, who will officially take over on Lyons’ last day with the school.
Marie Anderson previously served as principal at Kingston High School, and most recently as the principal at Edward R. Crosby Elementary, from which she retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Marie Anderson is no stranger to Coleman, having taught there as well as serving as dean of students prior to her departure to the Kingston City School District.
Ellen Anderson most recently served as the dean of faculty at Coleman, and has also been a principal at St. Mary Mother of the Church in Fishkill, an assistant principal and dean of students at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, and a teacher at the St. Martin De Porres School in Poughkeepsie.
“Collectively, Ellen and Marie bring over 75 years of educator and administrator knowledge and experience with them to Coleman, and I know I can speak on behalf of the Board in saying how excited and fortunate we are to have them in the capacity of co-principals at Coleman for the upcoming school year,” wrote Smith in his letter to parents, students and faculty.
In a separate letter from the interim co-principals, Marie Anderson and Ellen Anderson acknowledged that the situation was unique, but they pledged to maintain what Coleman is all about during a transitional school year.
“Together, we will use our experience and skills to assume the leadership role at Coleman,” said the letter. “The co-principal concept is quite unique. It will be new to the entire school community and it may present a few challenges that we believe we are prepared to face with your prayerful support. Coleman Catholic High School has a rich tradition of providing a rigorous curriculum and caring environment for students to learn and grow. We are committed to maintaining the valued traditions and nurturing the spiritual mission of our school …We are privileged and delighted to be here serving as your new co-principals and we look forward to meeting our Coleman family in the coming weeks.”
In the letter to Coleman parents, students and faculty, Smith was identified as the chairman of the eight-member search committee tasked with finding a permanent principal for the school.
“The expertise and professionalism of Ellen Anderson and Marie Anderson will allow the search committee to move forward in the quest of finding a permanent principal knowing that the school is in very capable hands,” wrote Smith. “Obviously, this is a major step for the future of the school and the Board is extremely confident in this new leadership team.”
Marie Anderson and Ellen Anderson will undertake their first official act as co-principals at Coleman’s Back-to-School BBQ on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Sickles taking over at Crosby
Edward R. Crosby Elementary School will open its doors for the 2018-19 school year next week, the first under new Principal Kathleen Sickles.
Sickles grew up in Kingston and was a student at her new school when Edward Crosby was still its principal. After attending M. Clifford Miller Middle School and Kingston High School, Sickles moved on to SUNY New Paltz, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s in math, science and technology in education. Sickles has also earned a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, picking up certifications as a school building leader and school district leader.
Professionally, Sickles served as a third-grade teacher at St. Joseph’s School, now known as Kingston Catholic School, for 11 years, before becoming the assistant principal at Highland Elementary School for the past four years.
“I feel like I’m home,” said Sickles in a KCSD press release, which included a Q&A. “I do have a true love for kids and I want to see them all be successful. I want to foster a positive school culture where teachers flourish as professionals. I feel like we already have that here. I am really excited to be here.”
Sickles takes over as principal for Marie Anderson, who retired from the district at the end of the 2017-18 school year and is currently serving as interim co-principal at Coleman.
Asked in the district’s Q&A if she had any advice for her students, Sickles said she hoped students will be mindful of themselves and one another.
“Be kind, do your best, watch out for and take care of each other,” she said. “And play outside!”
Students will head back to class for the first day of the 2018-19 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 5.