North Colonie Assistant Superintendent for Business retires after 35 years of service in the district
It was July of 1979 when Thomas Rybaltowski first became an employee of North Colonie, entering the non-instructional side of the district where he would dedicate the next 35 years. Rybaltowski had just spent three years in the Peace Corps when he was hired.
“I was thinking I would perhaps go into the private sector, but I always had an interest in doing something nonprofit, which came as a result of being in the Peace Corps,” says Rybaltowski. “That sheds a different outlook on your life when you return, and I was fortunate to apply for a job here and get it.”
Rybaltowski earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from UAlbany, as well as his M.B.A., and also pursued two additional graduate degrees, earning a Masters in Educational Administration, and a certificate of advanced study.
Rybaltowski has held a variety of positions during his tenure at North Colonie, including Treasurer, Purchasing Agent, a role in the IT department, Business Administrator, and lastly, Assistant Superintendent for Business. He has held the latter position since 1993.
While reflecting on the past three and a half decades, Rybaltowski says there is a much higher level of regulation and many more state mandates in recent years. However, he says part of the continued financial success of the district is due in part to the town being so diversified.
“Our district has been blessed with having a very wide variety of very stable businesses, including the state government and a large number of private employers,” he says.
Rybaltowski says his mantra has always been to pay for things with cash, and is very appreciative of the board of education’s support in this throughout the years.
“This really goes back to when I first started, because the district has always been blessed with some very good board members,” he says. “There have been several people who have been real mentors, and have shown great community spirit and wanted to do the right thing.”
While Rybaltowski has worked closely with many people throughout the district, a few would like to express their thanks and appreciation for his service.
“For the past 35 years, Tom Rybaltowski has worked diligently and with great integrity to be sure that district resources are preserved, guarded and grown so that they may be used most effectively to meet the educational needs of all of our students,” says Superintendent Joseph Corr. “His thoughtful and prudent stewardship of these resources has allowed North Colonie to not only sustain, but grow its educational program, and meet the needs of all its learners in a rapidly changing era. On behalf of the district, I’d like to thank him for his years of service and wish Tom and his family all the best in his retirement.”
“In the past four years, I have learned so much from Tom Rybaltowski,” says Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Kathleen Skeals. “He is the consummate professional, one who exemplifies the old advertising line, “inquiring minds want to know.” Whether we are discussing the district’s budget or current events, Tom always brings forward a question or perspective that I cannot anticipate. It is this different lens through which he looks that brings a thoughtful balance to our work and a means by which we can all expand our viewpoints.”
“In July 1999, I started working for Mr. Rybaltowski when he held the title of Business Administrator,” says Janice Patrie, the secretary for the Assistant Superintendent for Business. “During the past 15 and a half years, at the close of each business day he thanked me for coming to work. But it was I that should have been thanking him. For those of you who do not know Mr. Rybaltowski, he considered North Colonie “Paradise”. He did not look forward to the end of the work week, and Monday was his favorite day. Mr. Rybaltowski often said North Colonie is filled with many talented, professional individuals where he could find the answer for many of his questions. His door was always open, and we were never turned away for all the many questions we would ask of him on a daily basis. My hope for Mr. Rybaltowski is that his retirement years will be even longer than his time at North Colonie.”
During his retirement, Rybaltowski plans to continue his work with a rural community in the Dominican Republic, where he travels to once or twice a year, bringing supplies to an extremely needy population. In addition, Rybaltowski will continue his hobby of homesteading and trying to do more natural, more organic types of activities.
“In the moment it feels like what happened to 35 years?” he says. “During the day it’s a long day, but during the year, it’s a short year. It does go by very quickly.”
The district held a retirement reception for Mr. Rybaltowski on January 12, and collected $1,535 in donations for his charity, “The People of the Dominican Republic.”
North Colonie has appointed G. Scott Hunter to serve as the district’s interim Assistant Superintendent for Business from January 5, 2015 to approximately June 30, 2015.