Dr. Cynthia Kramer is about to embark on a new professional adventure.
At its April 9 meeting, the Hendrick Hudson School Board appointed Kramer the new principal of the Furnace Woods Elementary School. On July 1 Kramer will take over the leadership role at Furnace Woods from Dr. Helene Kane, who is retiring in June after 18 years at the school’s helm.
Kramer, currently the Assistant Principal at the Bedford Road School, in Pleasantville, is an experienced and enthusiastic educator with a wealth of elementary educational experience, both in the classroom and the district office.
“We are proud and fortunate to welcome Cindy to the Hen Hud family,” said Hendrick Hudson Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter. “It was crystal clear, from the three-hour site visit I made to her school, that Cindy would be a great fit for the Furnace Woods community. She’ll be a great asset and I am looking forward to working with her.”
A native of Pepperell, Mass., just south of Nashua, N.H., Kramer earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of New Hampshire. She taught at schools in Cape Cod and Long Island, and her first administrative assignment was as an Assistant Principal in Suffolk County, followed by a stint in Nassau County. She began work on her doctorate at Dowling College while she was working on Long Island.“I always wanted to work with kids,” she said, and spending time with children is her favorite thing about being an educator. She is very proud of the character education program she helped launch at Bedford Road, based on what’s called the “Fill a Bucket” program. She meets with both student and teacher committees on a monthly basis to keep the program fresh. “It’s part of our culture now,” she added. “We have that common language and the kids really buy into it.”
Initially Kramer met with Superintendent Hochreiter and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alice Gottlieb, followed by a slightly larger meeting “with twenty-three people,” she recalled, laughing. But, “I didn’t find it intimidating at all.”
Asked about the most challenging aspect of being an administrator, Kramer replied, “I think it is trying to balance all the needs of all the stakeholders—the parents, the teachers, the students, the community – and trying to listen to what each group wants, and figuring out how to manage that.”
And what about the controversial Common Core Learning Standards? “The Common Core standards, I think, have a lot of benefits… [They] raise the bar and they do give us a nice map of what needs to be taught at each grade level … a common language across districts and across states. Where the controversy, I think, comes in is with the assessments” – assessing children on the new standards before they have had a chance to learn them. Kramer acknowledges that the work that comes out of the New York State EngageNY site’s learning modules is “hard,” but to her, the key is involving and working with parents to understand the new material. Bedford Road, like Hendrick Hudson’s three elementary buildings, has offered parent nights at which teachers and parents can work together to learn about the new ways of solving math problems.
Dr. Kramer has 10-year-old fraternal twins, Joe and Nick, and a 4-year-old daughter, Sophie. She and her husband, a retired NYPD police lieutenant who now works with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, live in Pleasantville, but in the Byram Hills school district, which will mean a manageable, half-hour commute to Furnace Woods.
On a more personal note, among
Kramer’s favorite non-fiction authors are John Grisham and Anita Shreve, and
her idea of a perfect day is simple: “Just spending time with my kids and my
husband…just a day when the five of us can be together.”