Ripley Central School Superintendent William Caldwell was completely surprised when he was named Administrator of the Year by the Chautauqua County Board of Education Professionals Association.
“I didn’t know I was going to be chosen” said Caldwell of the prize, which was awarded to CCAEOP “bosses’ night” May 19 dinner.
“It’s a pretty big honour” Caldwell added.
CCAEOP is an organization of educational secretaries and office staff. It is the belief of the organization that “The quality of the services provided by the professionals of the education office directly influences the efficiency of the service provided by the educational institution as a whole. »
Caldwell was nominated for the award by his secretary, Vickie Mosier, who had written a nomination letter which she read over dinner.
“The letter was very humble,” said Caldwell. “It meant so much more to me as I stood there listening to her read about the things she noticed.”
In her letter of appointment, Mosier noted that Caldwell is not only an excellent superintendent, but that she puts people first, whether they are employees or students.
“Bill is first and foremost a human being, then an administrator”, she says. “He’s an amazing superintendent, but, more importantly, he’s a kind-hearted, sympathetic and understanding human being.”
Mosier cited several examples of Caldwell’s concern for employees. At the start of the pandemic, when so much was uncertain, Caldwell was very concerned about making sure employees got paid, she said.
“The question I kept hearing him repeat: ‘Can I keep paying my employees? These people should be paid. Some of my relatives live paycheck to paycheck. … He repeatedly spoke to me about the employees and their paychecks, concern covering every inch of his tired, worn face,” she says.
Caldwell was always mindful of the needs employees faced outside of the school setting, Mosier said. She noted several examples, including one that involved him, where he focused on his staff’s personal concerns, saying ‘family comes first,’” she said.
“His concern is for the human being first and for the work, then.”
Caldwell also cares about students, Mosier said.
“Recently, a student had serious problems at home. … So what does he do? He asks me to gather all the materials needed to make slime. He rolled up his sleeves and together, with another student, they made slime,” she says.
Mosier said he saw this concern for students on several occasions.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve peeked into Bill’s office to find him on the floor talking quietly with a struggling student, reading a book, or just sitting quietly for a while” , she says. “These students always leave more serene and much happier than when they arrived.”
Mosier noted that CCAEOP recently updated its constitution and purpose, stating that the organization “to promote the continued professional growth of all education professionals to help members meet the challenges of their positions, to help members network with colleagues throughout the county, to recognize members for their outstanding dedication to their profession and to develop leadership and team building skills among members.”
Caldwell said CCAEOP has been dormant for a little while. The organization felt it was important to resume operations at this point, he said. They give out awards for Office Professional of the Year and Administrator of the Year, as well as two scholarships.
Since it was “bosses’ evening”, Caldwell’s wife was not present at the dinner.
“She had no idea” he said. “She was pretty excited when she walked in and (the award) was sitting on the counter.
Caldwell said receiving the award was a career highlight.
“I was honored and thought it was a great asset to my career,” he said. “It means a lot to me to receive this award.”