‘Grateful’: Supt. Corr’s Strong and Optimistic Opening Address to Teachers

As the 30-plus new teachers stood to be recognized during Opening Day for educators in the North Colonie CSD, Supt. D. Joseph Corr said, “I was in your spot in 1981, how about that?”

A near-capacity crowd in the Shaker High School auditorium on Sept. 6 was left inspired, laughing, and shedding a tear or two as the district’s 73rd school year kicked off with its traditional return of educational staff for training and for this particular year, many “lasts and firsts.”

It was the first time since 2019 the staff was all gathered together in person for Supt. Corr’s opening address. In 2020 he was alone in an empty auditorium, last year only the high school teachers were present and all the others watched on zoom.

“I will never again take advantage of the need to be connected,” Supt. Corr said.

Letting teachers know they would hear “gratitude” throughout his welcoming address, Supt. Corr expressed it throughout without even having to utter the word.

Quoting Nelson Mandela, Supt. Corr said, “ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’ and with the utmost respect and admiration for all the work you do on a daily basis – you are my heroes.

“I will never stop thinking of you as my heroes,” he added. “You do the work that needs to be done.”

Supt. Corr, who turned 71 at the end of August, has been attending school for 65 years and comes from a family of educators. Sharing and reflecting upon how that influenced his entire life and his outlook going forward.

“I remain optimistic about our ability to evolve and progress and am more convinced than ever of the power of our profession to transform our lives, the lives of others, our nation, and our world,” he said.

In keeping with tradition, a student performs a song to close the welcome. This year, SHS senior Beson Jovel-Truong performed “Thankful” as sung by Josh Groban and was accompanied by teacher Amy Kimbler.