BETHLEHEM On Thursday, Nov. 19, Sheila Fuller, Bethlehem’s first female town supervisor ,died after battling a long illness. She was 71 years old. Fuller took office in 1993 as and would continue to lead the town, with her office door wide open, until she decided not to run again in 2003. Prior to that, she served on Bethlehem School Board for 13 years.
“I’m most proud of being able to have people feel comfortable about meeting with the supervisor,” Fuller told Spotlight News in 2003. “Everyone I met was most important to me. It’s all about people, and that’s what I love.”
The loss of Sheila Fuller was one felt all across town, with many eager to share with SpotlightNews how she will be remembered to them. “Our hearts go out to her family at this time,” said George Lenhardt, who served as the town’s deputy supervisor during the majority of Fuller’s tenure. “She was a classy lady who always had concern for the residents of the community, either through the school district or as town supervisor all those years. Her absence in the community will surely be missed.”
In the 10 years Fuller presided over Bethlehem, she faced similar issues to those making headlines today, including water contracts with the City of Albany and a debilitating landslide in 2000, which swallowed a small grocery store along Delaware Avenue, threatened to washout the busy thoroughfare completely, and closed traffic for months, which gives perspective to the problems the town faces today. Fuller will be remembered as a strong leader, who spent many years serving the community she loved.
BC Super leaves
In June, Bethlehem Central Superintendent of Schools, Thomas Douglas, decided not to renew his contract. Roughly a month later, the school board announced Assistant Superintendent Jodi Monroe as the Interim Supervisor. The district will spend the next year searching for the next superintendent. Public forums and a public survey were held in November.
Douglas’ decision to leave his position in June, shortly before graduation ceremony, was a move that left many suprised and dismayed. Douglas has since moved on to a school district in the southern tier.
The district’s next supervisor is hoped to stay a long time.