New super takes the helm in Pine Bush

By Kerry Butrick Dowling
Posted 10/4/22

With more than 4,800 students between seven schools in grades PreK through twelfth grade, Pine Bush Central School District’s newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Brian Dunn is rolling …

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New super takes the helm in Pine Bush

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With more than 4,800 students between seven schools in grades PreK through twelfth grade, Pine Bush Central School District’s newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Brian Dunn is rolling full steam ahead. Dunn was unanimously appointed the new Superintendent of Schools earlier this year following an extensive search conducted in collaboration with Orange-Ulster BOCES. Dunn, who began his new role on July 1, is described by Board of Education President Gretchen Meier as a leader who will bring big changes to Pine Bush.

“Brian Dunn is a proven leader and we are thrilled that he will be bringing his leadership and vision here to Pine Bush,” said Meier.

Prior to beginning his new role at Pine Bush, Dunn served as the Middleburgh Central School District Superintendent for four years. He is a graduate of the College of Saint Rose and has a master’s degree from the University at Albany. After beginning his career in the City School District of Albany as an English teacher, Dunn went on to serve with the Troy City School District for 12 years as a middle school principal and high school assistant principal before going to lead Middleburgh. In 2015, he was named the Capital Area School Development Association’s Principal of the Year.

Dunn’s arrival comes at an important time in Pine Bush’s history coming off a pandemic and following the devastating untimely loss of former Superintendent of Schools Tim O. Mains in December 2021.

Dunn is eager to work in the Pine Bush community at such a significant time stating, “I feel like I am a good fit at this time because I have a strong background in school and district leadership. I believe that the pandemic and the untimely death of Superintendent Mains were two very significant stressors on the district and the community. I know that the BOE expects me to lead the district forward in improving our instructional program as well as continuing the strong sense of belonging that our students, families and staff feel in Pine Bush Schools.”

As the 2022-2023 school year commences, Dunn shared that in the areas of culture and student management, the objective is to raise district expectations for conduct and behavior in school, the community and on social media.

“We are striving to work on our school and district culture to reinforce the message of belonging and inclusivity-that no matter who you are, where you live or where you come from-Pine Bush is your home district and we care about you,” explained Dunn.

Dunn discussed his top priorities and goals for the year: improving proficiency rates on all 3-8 ELA, math and science assessments, reduce violations of the Pine Bush Code of Conduct by 5% and reduce chronic absenteeism. He shared that performance gaps have been made worse by the pandemic and other areas in need of improvement include finding a way to improve academic outcomes for Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged students.

“In the next five years we should have all of our schools restored to “In Good Standing” and minimal achievement gaps with respect to Black, Hispanic, White and Economically Disadvantaged students,” Dunn explained.

During a recent Board of Education meeting, Dunn spoke about the opening of schools and the goals moving forward. “I’d like to compliment the entire district for what from my vantage point was an unequivocal smash success especially comparative to last year,” said Dunn. He went on to thank those individuals involved in transportation and said although there were some glitches that are being worked out as a whole transportation was well managed and rolled out. Additionally, Dunn thanked school staff and district leaders who worked hard to make the first few days a smooth start. “The principals and their teams have done an amazing job getting each school ready for back to teaching and learning which is our primary task and focus. I think we’re hitting the ground running, and that’s no small feat after what we’ve been through during the pandemic,” he shared.

With a sense of optimism as the new year begins, Dunn said, “The rate of sickness and disease transmission is very close to zero in schools. Who would have thought that? So that’s very positive news. People are healthy, kids are healthy, and there’s a lot of really positive energy in the schools among the students, and the vibe that I feel going through the schools is very welcoming, warm, and I think a comfortable setting for everyone. So, congratulations on the opening. Let’s keep moving.”

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