Superintendent of Schools

Mary-Margaret Zehr began as the Superintendent of Schools for Carmel Central School District in February 2021.

She brings years of experience, strong leadership skills, and an understanding of the importance of clear communication with all stakeholder groups.

Zehr began her lifelong career in education as a Social Studies teacher, but quickly moved onto administrative roles. Among these, she has served as high school and middle school principal, Committee on Special Education chair, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

She holds a certificate of advanced study in Educational Administration from SUNY-Oswego, a Master of Arts degree in Social Studies and International Education from New York University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Early Secondary Education from SUNY-Cortland. Her certifications include New York State Permanent School District Administrator and permanent teaching certification in Social Studies.

Updates from the Superintendent

  • April 6, 2022

    Dear Carmel Community,

    Last week, I sent out a survey to obtain your feedback to help inform our search for the next Superintendent of Instruction for the district. Thank you to those of you who provided thoughtful responses to that survey. Your insight will be most helpful during the search process to identify a candidate who will be successful here in Carmel Central School District.

    While the search is being conducted, I am pleased to share that the Board of Education has approved the appointment of Mary Foster, Ed.D., as our Interim Superintendent of Instruction.

    Mary will join our district beginning April 18 in the interim role and comes to us with an incredible amount of experience after a lengthy career in education with the Peekskill City School District. During her career, she has spanned all areas of the public-school education system beginning as a special education teacher and moving on to the Director of Early Childhood, Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education, even serving as an Interim Superintendent.

    She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Loyola College and her Doctor of Education from Manhattanville College. Mary also holds permanent New York State certifications in School District Administration; Nursery, Kindergarten and Grades 1-6; as well as Special Education. Most recently, she has been sharing her expertise as an educational consultant, analyzing special education programs for grades K-12 and leading professional development opportunities for elementary principals and district administrators.

    We look forward to welcoming Mary later this month and working with her to continue to advance our district in new directions. As always, should you have any questions, please reach out to my office for guidance. 

    Sincerely,

    Mary-Margaret Zehr
    Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • April 4, 2022

    Dear CCSD Families,

    This school year, our district provided every student with the opportunity to obtain a personal learning device for educational purposes. This one-to-one initiative enables our district students and teachers to better engage, share, and participate in a collaborative learning community. 

    This year, our teachers have continued to expand what is possible for our students using technology. We have enhanced our single username and password program so that students can more easily access digital tools. We have improved our wireless network, refined and improved our collection of software tools, and created plans to replace some of our older smartboards in classrooms. As we look to the future, student engagement and success remains our focus. 

    It’s hard to believe that the end of the 2021-22 school year is on the horizon. While we still have a few months until then, we wanted to use this opportunity to provide a few reminders regarding the daily use of devices for the remainder of the current school year, and some preliminary information about end-of-year device collection.

    Technical SupportInstructional technology information including where to go for technical support is available for students and families on the District Technology website.

    Students at Carmel High School and George Fischer Middle School also have direct access to a helpdesk system from their district laptop or ClassLink.

    Digital Classroom Use 

    • High School and Middle School: Fully charged personal learning devices should be brought to and from school daily
      • High school students may choose to bring in their own laptop daily, instead of a district device.
    • Elementary Schools: Individual teachers will communicate when your child is expected to bring the device to school and when it will go home.

    Damaged/Missing Device FeesIf a district laptop/iPad or charger is missing or damaged, parents will receive an invoice from MySchoolBucks based on the following fees: 

    • Lost or unrepairable charger: $25  
    • Repairable damage to device: $100
    • Unrepairable damage to device or missing device: $300

    Year-End Procedures & Device ReturnsDetailed information regarding end-of-year procedures and device returns will be sent by individual schools later this year. In preparation for the end of the year, please review the following guidelines:

    • Students currently in grades Kindergarten, 4, 8 and graduating high school seniors will need to return their devices and chargers at the end of the school year in June.
    • Students currently in grades 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 will keep their devices over the summer and should plan to use them in the 2022-23 school year beginning this fall. Parents will receive an email in August requesting confirmation that the device is still in good working order. 
    • Elementary students that transfer mid-year to another elementary school in our district will keep their devices following the conditions listed previously.
    • Devices will be provided to students entering grades Kindergarten, 1, 5 and 9, and newly enrolled students at the beginning of the school year in the fall.
    • Students that are graduating, leaving the district, or are in grade slated to return a device should plan to return all devices and chargers prior to their last day of school to avoid a missing device fee.

    We thank you for your continued support as we keep our students and staff connected. 

    Sincerely,

    Mary-Margaret ZehrSuperintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • March 9, 2022

    Dear Carmel Community,

    At last night’s Board of Education meeting, John Fink was appointed as the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Business, effective today, March 9. John has been serving in the role as our interim since early November after the position was vacated by our previous Assistant Superintendent.

    John came to the interim role with a great drive to help the district move forward, and in just four months he has already made some impactful positive changes. We are pleased with all that he has accomplished in the last few months and believe that making him a permanent addition to our district administration will be a tremendous benefit to the Carmel community.

    We will begin advertising for a new assistant principal at Carmel High School to replace John with the intention of filling the position as soon as possible. The open assistant principal position will continue to be filled by our interim, Lou Valesey, until a new hire has been made.

    Sincerely,

    Mary-Margaret Zehr
    Superintendent of Schools

    Superintendent of Schools
  • February 27, 2022

    Dear Carmel Community, 

    Today, Governor Hochul has announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate for New York State schools has been lifted, effective Wednesday, March 2, 2022, for all schools in a low-transmission zone. 

    As of Wednesday, March 2, mask-wearing will be optional for all students, staff and visitors of Carmel Central School District while on school grounds or on school transportation. Additionally, we anticipate that we will be receiving official guidance from the NYS Education Department in the next few days.

    We recognize that all members of our district community have differing opinions on masks and levels of comfort with mask-wearing, and we support your choice in making the best decision for your child and yourself. As a district, we commit to respecting the rights of all students, staff, and visitors, whether they choose to wear a mask or not. 

    While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not over, this change is one step closer to returning our learning environments to a more familiar normal for our students and staff. However, we all play a role in keeping our schools safe, healthy and open. Your continued partnership and commitment to not sending your child to school while ill is appreciated and vital to keeping our community safe. 

    If your child is experiencing any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 or other illnesses, we remind you to please not send them to our school buildings.  

    As a reminder, the district is providing at-home test kits for district students who need them. Tests can be picked up from your child’s individual school building during school hours. Please contact your child’s individual school building if you need alternate arrangements. In order to receive a test kit, the student must attend one of the five schools in our district. If you previously received a test kit from the district for your student, you may obtain another kit at this time. 

    We will continue to keep you updated with additional information as needed. Please stay safe and be well.

    Sincerely, 

    Mary-Margaret Zehr Superintendent of Schools 

    Superintendent of Schools
  • February 26, 2022

    Dear Carmel Community,
     
    This afternoon, I sent a letter to our elected officials as a response to yesterday's release of metric guidelines for masks wearing by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Based on those metrics and Putnam County being a low transmission area, I urged Governor Hochul to rescind the New York State mask mandate for schools as soon as possible. See a copy of my letter to the Governor and our other elected officials.
     
    I would urge parents who wish to make their voices heard to send their own letters to our elected officials. The Westchester Putnam School Boards Association provides an easy option to electronically send a letter on their website.
     
    If the Governor lifts the mask mandate for schools, we will notify parents of that decision as soon as we know.
     
    Sincerely,
    Mary-Margaret Zehr
    Superintendent of Schools
    Superintendent of Schools
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