LATHAM — After 41 years with the North Colonie School District, the last 12 as superintendent, D. Joseph Corr is retiring, effective Jan. 31, 2023.
“I have been blessed and inspired by colleagues, students, families, and friends, and am filled with gratitude for all the learning, support, and inspiration I have received,” Corr said in a note to families on the district website. “I have served this wonderful community in concert with the most outstanding colleagues. For that, I offer boundless and never ending thanks.”
Corr began his education career after his father told him about an opening for a summer school teacher at Shaker High. That led to a full-time position teaching social studies and English at Shaker Junior High School which led to him becoming supervisor of the Social Studies Department. From there he was promoted to assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and in 2010 he became just the fifth superintendent in the 72-year history of North Colonie, a position he called the “high point” of his career.
“Our focus has always been to provide outstanding support and resources to our students to ensure their comprehensive education, socially, emotionally, and academically and to our faculty and staff to support their important work in delivering the service of education,” he said. “This commitment to educating the children of our community is fundamental to a free and democratic nation, and I have been graced by the opportunity to work with you in this noblest of callings.”
In the last years of his tenure, Corr spearheaded a massive, district-wide, multi-million restructuring to accommodate a steady growth in enrollment. After initially getting shot down by voters, in 2017 residents approved spending $106 million on a project that moved all sixth through eighth grade students to a new middle school building on the Watervliet Shaker Road campus. Previously, just seventh and eighth graders attended middle school and shift opened up more room at the district’s six elementary schools.
And, of course, COVID-19 had a profound impact on how education was delivered to the district’s more than 6,000 students. While the worst of the pandemic is behind us — there is no more universal remote learning — the district is still reporting the number of new cases and there are still safety protocols in place in districts across the state.
“I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge those who have been with me through the duration of my time in North Colonie,” he said. “To my wife Cherie, my children Chelsea, Dan, and Kendra, their spouses, and grandson Nolan, I know this job has consumed my time physically and emotionally, and your support and understanding has been unconditional. Without you, I could not have accomplished this work.”
He also tipped his hat to Board of Education President Linda Harrison and Deputy Superintendent Kathleen Skeals.
“I have learned so much from you, and you have been an inspiration through your unwavering commitment to the power of teaching and learning public education,” he said. “Most importantly, your friendship is the rock and foundation that has sustained me through this journey. Thank you.”
This story will be updated for our print edition.