© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Joseph Hochreiter named next superintendent of Albany City School District

The City School District of Albany Board of Education has selected veteran New York public school leader Joseph Hochreiter to serve as superintendent of the 9,000-student district.
City School District of Albany
The City School District of Albany Board of Education has selected veteran New York public school leader Joseph Hochreiter to serve as superintendent of the 9,000-student district.

A veteran New York public school leader will serve as next superintendent of the City School District of Albany.

Thursday night the Albany School Board approved a 3-year contract with Joseph Hochreiter. The annual pay is $248,000. Hochreiter has 14 years’ experience as superintendent of the Elmira City School District from 2009-13 and the Hendrick Hudson Central School District from 2013-23. He took a leave of absence from the Hendrick Hudson district in Westchester County in February after a school board decision to roll back changes to an educational model that had been implemented to create greater diversity and equity in elementary school classrooms.

“This sort of all started with the closure of Indian Point, our nuclear power plant that, with the closure of Indian Point, the announcement back in January 2017, we were forecasting a significant revenue loss," said Hochreiter. "At the time, the power plant accounted for 30% of our budget, which was around $24 to $26 million. And the school board at the time commissioned a study, to determine if there were ways to tighten the belt from an operation standpoint. We were at the point of district a pretty significant enrollment decline. Our facilities were aging, and they wanted to have a third-party objective review, to see if we could reorganize and do some things differently that would save money without reducing programs for kids.”

Hochreiter says he exited the district with "no hard feelings." While on leave, Hochreiter got wind of Albany's national search for a successor to Kaweeda Adams, who led the district for six years. On her watch, Albany High School’s graduation rate soared from 65 to 82%. Adams left to become Deputy Executive Director of Research and Policy at The Conference of Big 5 School Districts.

“Through my research of the school district, and speaking with a lot of friends in public education and other similar professions around the Capital Region, the City School District of Albany is unapologetically progressive in their stance on equity and making sure that students have resources to succeed," Hochreiter. said. "And that's really important for me, not only my personal beliefs, but certainly professional beliefs as a superintendent. And the more I researched about the district and talked to friends and colleagues and mentors in the field, it felt more and more like a good set in terms of vision and philosophy. And after meeting with the board a number of times through the interview process that sense was becoming more solidified more of a reality. Albany has a great rich tradition of supporting diversity and equity. “

Now that he's in Albany, Hochreiter says he has a lot to learn and a lot of people to meet in every school community throughout the district.

"So my job is to, as quickly as possible, understand what makes each school community tick and what their values are, what their interests are," Hochreiter. said. "And really where they want to go. My job is to facilitate change and to bring people on board. So, you know, there certainly are initiatives that the board has identified as priorities. And I'm sure I'll find some through my investigation and my time learning about other opportunities for improvement. But over the next number of weeks, and first couple of months, certainly into the summer, I want to get a lay of the land and understand what the community's tolerance is for change, and what those changes could be, but also to make sure that we're recognizing and celebrating successes.”

The new superintendent has a plan for the district, a "group effort" toward success.

“What's really inspiring about the school district and the community, is everyone wants to help, " said Hochreiter. And there is a real spirit of collaboration, and a spirit of being involved and engaged. And I really look forward to continuing that work, and making myself available with our community organizations, our faith-based groups, our elected politicians. Albany is going to be a destination school district. And it's going to take all of us working together to do that. We are the seat of government, in one of the most progressive states in the country. What happens in New York, people pay attention to nationally, and we are in the hub of what happens in New York. And so, my goal, and I know it's shared with many is to make the City School District of Albany, a destination district, and I look forward to engaging in that work.”

The district has an enrollment of nearly 9,000 students.

Hochreiter has purchased a home in Albany and looks to become "an engaged citizen of the community."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.