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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, March 11, 2010
At Voorheesville’s high school
By Saranac Hale Spencer
VOORHEESVILLE The last year brought a turnover in leadership to Voorheesville’s school district, starting with a superintendent who was hired last March, then the elementary school principal who was hired in April, and the new middle school got its first-ever principal in August. On Tuesday, the school board hired Imran Abbasi as the principal for the high school.
“He seemed to be a thoughtful person who has done a lot of good work on the curriculum side and with a lot of energy,” said school board President David Gibson yesterday, after the board’s unanimous vote. Abbasi is replacing Mark Diefendorf, a long-time social studies teacher at Voorheesville who became principal to cap his career.
Abbasi, 32, has been working in education for 10 years, first as a social studies teacher, and now as an assistant principal in Niskayuna’s middle school.
Watching the children’s progress from the beginning of the year to the end was always his favorite part of being in the classroom, he said, but he started to find it rewarding to work with teachers and staff on instruction, which prompted him to move to an administrative position three years ago.
He sees the principal’s duties as “an ongoing puzzle,” he said, and likes the challenge of finding the right pieces and putting them together.
Voorheesville appealed to Abbasi because of its size and reputation, he said, explaining that he loves his current job, but deals with 1,000 kids a day. “This high school is a size where you can get to know students,” he said. Clayton A. Bouton High has about 100 students in each of four grades.
The Albany native got both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University at Albany, majoring in social studies as an undergraduate and earning a degree in curriculum development and instructional technology as a graduate student. He focused on how to use technology in the classroom, Abbasi said, explaining that he worked with interactive Smart Boards and Internet research.
He’s unsure of how much he will concentrate on integrating technology into the classroom, he said, adding that it might be “the next step.” Ultimately, though, Abbasi said, “At the end of the day, your goal is to get the best instruction for your students.”
Of how long he plans to stay at Voorheesville, Abbasi, who will start work on July 1 with a salary of $92,500, said, “I hope I’m there for a long time.” He and his wife, Melissa, live in Guilderland, where she is a teacher at Farnsworth Middle School. They have a 2-year-old son, Callum.
“I don’t see an end point,” Abbasi said. “I just see a beginning.”