HAMMOND - Hammond Central School Superintendent Douglas H. McQueer, clad in school colors, red and white, monitored the schools halls Thursday, making sure students reached their classes.
Its one of the many ways Mr. McQueer assists staff throughout the school year. He also helps prepare the athletic fields in August and the maintenance crew with heavy lifting, and tutors students in his favorite subject, math.
He said parents have his cell phone number in case they need to call him about student concerns.
I try to help whenever I canwhatever I can do to help get things done, he said.
This is Mr. McQueers last week after an 11-year career as a teacher and administrator for the district.
Mr. McQueers contract was not renewed in July a day after he was reappointed by board members. But Mr. McQueer harbors no ill will towards his alma mater.
From the community to students, teachers and staff – everyone has been great, he said. Hopefully they will do well in the future.
His last day is Oct. 30. A new interim superintendent, Randy C. Richards, will take over Oct. 1.
Teachers wished Mr. McQueer well Friday while throwing a celebration in his honor.
I would like to thank Mr. McQueer for his years of service to Hammond Central School, Hammond Teachers Association President Kim Slate said. I wish him good luck in his future endeavors.
Mr. McQueer has a long history with the district. Portions of Mr. McQueers familys farm were sold to build Hammond Central School in the 1950s.
But Mr. McQueer wasnt always sold on a career in education. For a time, he says he juggled ideas about becoming a veterinarian, teacher or an accountant.
I was always good in school, said the 1980 valedictorian. I was considering becoming a veterinarian because I grew up on a farm. But then I thought I always got along well with kids.
Mr. McQueer received his bachelors degree in mathematics from SUNY Potsdam in 1988 before receiving his masters degree from St. Lawrence University. He student-taught and subbed at Parishville Central School until he saw there was an opening in his hometown.
In 2003, Mr. McQueer began teaching eighth through 12th grade mathematics in the same room he was taught.
During that time he worked alongside his fourth, fifth and sixth grade teacher, Douglas E. Delosh. Now retired and serving as town board member, Mr. Delosh said he has fond memories of working with Mr. McQueer.
I remember him playing basketball, Mr. McQueer said. He was an excellent player. He would take students over to Potsdam State to see them play.
While Mr. McQueer said he had no administrative aspirations, he offered to take over as assistant principal when no one wanted the job, he said.
School board President James Tague later approached Mr. McQueer to apply for the superintendens post, a job he started on July 1, 2006. I didnt want to at first, but the district pushed and the teachers were very supportive, he said.
During his time as superintendent, Mr. McQueer said he is proud of the amount of money the district has saved in a time when many districts are struggling against insolvency and the variety of Distance Learning programs offered.
We offer DL in almost any subject students want. Now they are taking advanced English, psychology and social science classes, Mr. McQueer said. I hear it so many times from parents, going to Hammond is like getting a private school education with public dollar,
Mr. Delosh said he is sad to see Mr. McQueer leave the district.
In my 41 plus years of education, I think he is one of the finest administrators we have had, he said. He has done a superb job, and this is a tremendous loss for the community.
As for the future, Mr. McQueer said he would like to continue working in the field of education. He said he is hopeful about the future of Hammond.
This building is family, he said. Two thirds of our staff were born here or raised somewhere nearby in the north country. A lot of teachers know the kids. Its hard for kids to fall through the cracks with so many eyes watching them. Thats the advantage of a small school.