After 33 years in public education, including seven as the district superintendent of HFM BOCES, Dr. Patrick Michel has announced he will retire next month.
The HFM BOCES Board of Education during its annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday voted to accept Dr. Michel’s resignation. Dr. Michel’s last day at BOCES will be Aug. 10.
Dr. Michel was appointed the HFM BOCES district superintendent in 2011, following the death of former District Superintendent Dr. Geoffrey Davis. Prior to HFM, Dr. Michel served as superintendent of the Monticello Central School District, the associate superintendent of the Clarkstown Central School District and as a principal in the Hyde Park and Pine Bush school districts. Dr. Michel began his career teaching ninth and 12th grade social studies and earth science in the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District.
“My time at HFM has been one of the best professional experiences of my career, and I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever known,” Dr. Michel said.
Following his retirement, Dr. Michel will enter the private sector and work with the Virginia-based K12 Inc., an education management organization that provides online education and curricula.
“We will certainly miss Dr. Michel, but we are so grateful for all that he has done for the entire HFM region,” HFM BOCES Board of Education President Joanne Freeman said. “We also look forward to seeing the impact we know he can make on the national level through his new role in the private sector.”
As HFM’s district superintendent, Dr. Michel was an outspoken critic of inertia in the public education system and advocated for retooling the secondary education experience. During his time at HFM, he championed for change, working with a consortium of area schools, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and Fulton-Montgomery Community College to establish the region’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or PTECH, in 2014. That PTECH celebrated its first graduates last month with about a quarter of the inaugural class earning their high school diplomas and college degrees in just four years. Many others in the inaugural class are on track to complete the 4- to 6-year program and earn their college degrees this school year. Recognizing the success of the PTECH model, HFM BOCES launched Agriculture PTECH in 2016, and an additional three PTECH programs will be operational in HFM school districts for the start of school in September.
In addition to spearheading the PTECH initiative, Mrs. Freeman also commends Dr. Michel’s effort to establish the successful HFM BOCES Regional Transportation Service, which has been providing shared busing services for the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts since 2012. She also credits his work recruiting exceptional administrators, teachers and staff and cultivating strong relationships with the business community, the Chamber of Commerce, FMCC and SUNY Cobleskill. Dr. Michel’s vision of establishing the solar farm in front of the Route 67 campus, Mrs. Freeman said, is another contribution that will have a long-lasting benefit to HFM BOCES. The solar farm, which became operational last summer, is expected to generate more than $800,000 for BOCES over the next 20 years offsetting or exceeding its future utility costs.
This year, Dr. Michel said, he is particularly proud that three BOCES administrators – Career and Technical Director Jay DeTraglia, HFM PTECH Principal Mike Dardaris and Deputy Superintendent Lorraine Hohenforst – earned statewide leadership awards.
“I think these awards speak to the kind of environment we’ve created at HFM BOCES. It’s an environment that allows our administrators, teachers and staff to excel, and that benefits our component districts and all our students,” Dr. Michel said. “I’d like to thank the HFM BOCES Board of Education and everyone at BOCES and our component districts for their support throughout the years and for all their hard work supporting our students.”
As the BOCES district superintendent, Dr. Michel serves a dual role as both the chief operating officer of HFM BOCES and as a representative of the New York State Education commissioner and liaison between the state and the component HFM BOCES school districts.
During the next several weeks, by law, state Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will appoint a sitting district superintendent from another BOCES as the interim district superintendent to handle the state governance responsibilities during the transition.
According to state Education Law, when a BOCES district superintendent retires, a survey regarding the BOCES must be administered to collect input from all of the component districts and contiguous BOCES before the state can approve a search for a new district superintendent.
Dr. Michel said he expects the search for his replacement to begin in three to six months.