The district’s new Director of Health, Physical Education & Athletics Matthew Stein has focused his attention during his first weeks in North Colonie getting to know his staff and coaches, and meeting student athletes.
“My first priority is relationship building and that includes staff, students, parents, and community,” said Stein. “Then together, we can begin to identify areas of need and address them. I would not ever assume that what I’ve done as far as initiatives in another district is necessary here. The process, however, of bringing people together to collaborate and determine a direction for the future is the same. It starts with building trust and relationships.”
A veteran educator, coach and Suburban Council administrator, Stein was tapped to replace Ed Dopp who retired in March after serving more than 30 years with the district, first as a teacher and coach, and later as athletic director. Stein said he has long admired the progression of athletics in North Colonie and all that Dopp accomplished during his tenure.
“Clearly, Ed built a great foundation and it shows in the success of Shaker’s athletic programs. From that perspective, yes, I have big shoes to fill,” he said. “Having worked with Ed in the league, I got the chance to know him personally, and to dig a little deeper into how he developed and organized the programs here. Ed brought many great coaches on board–and coaches are key when it comes to a strong athletic program.”
Stein said being appointed to the position by the Board of Education in June fulfilled his long-held aspiration.
“Without a doubt, it has always been my goal to have a leadership position in a large school setting. As a Shen graduate, and then teaching and coaching at [South] Colonie, I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the larger double A programs,” he said. “That was one factor that drew me to North Colonie, along with the district’s reputation for academic excellence and its recognition as one of the top work places in the Capital Region.” Times Union’s Best Places to Work
Stein most recently served as the director of physical education, health and athletics for the Mohonasen Central School District for the past three years where he had been actively involved in facilitating renovations to Mohonasen’s athletic facilities, including the construction of a turf field, as part of a multi-million dollar capital project.
“Being part of a similar planning and construction process that involved a turf project, facilities renovations and new construction that included gyms, locker rooms, team rooms and offices, was a valuable learning opportunity for me,” he said. “I can now apply that experience and insight here in North Colonie when the capital project gets underway late next spring.”
Before Mohonasen, Stein was a longtime physical education teacher in the South Colonie Central School District, where he also served as the high school’s physical education coordinator for several years. During that time, he was responsible for overseeing the district-wide implementation of the federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant. Early in his career, Stein taught physical education for five years in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District and the Waterford Halfmoon Union Free School District. He previously coached wrestling, track and field, football and softball.
“Matt’s knowledge of Suburban Council operations and his previous leadership experience with major capital improvements to athletic facilities will be an asset for us moving forward,” said Superintendent of Schools Joseph Corr. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Matt join our team at this pivotal time for our district.”
Stein earned his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in curriculum development and instructional technology from SUNY Albany. He received his school building leader certification from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
“I pride myself on being accessible; whether a staff member, a student, a parent or a community member needs to speak with me about a concern or an idea, I am accessible,” said Stein, whose official first day with the district was July 1. “The bottom line is, if it’s about what is good for kids, I will always make the time.”