Sullivan West Central Education Leader Honored with Irving Schwartz Distinguished Retiree Award

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Joanne Lane

ALBANY, NY (03/21/2024) (readMedia)-- ALBANY, NY (03/08/2024) (readMedia)-- ALBANY, NY – Dr. Joanne Lane, retired administrator from the Sullivan West Central School District, has been selected as the recipient of 2024 Irving Schwartz Distinguished Retiree Award by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). Irving Schwartz was a founding member of SAANYS. This award is given annually to a retired SAANYS member who, in retirement, has made significant contributions to the welfare of the association, education, and the greater community.

Lane has been active in education in the state of New York since 1978. She began her career as a certified speech-language pathologist in hospital, residential and public school settings, and retired as an assistant superintendent for student support services. She also served as an adjunct lecturer for SUNY New Platz, from which she retired in 2022. Lane has held board positions in community and professional organizations, was vice president for community and affiliate relations for NYSASCD as well as the president of the Mid-Hudson affiliate of NYSASCD. Her programs have been recognized by NYSED as exhibiting best practices, and she has been a conference speaker at multiple professional organizations.

Concerned about the "the lack of attention paid to special education training in principal preparation programs," she recently researched and wrote, The Principal's Special Education Calendar - A month by month roadmap to building consistency, equity, and compliance, which has been accepted for publication and is set to be released in the fall. Lane notes that the book addresses "a school leader's special education responsibilities. It offers a pragmatic, 'in the trenches' roadmap for managing the spectrum of special education duties under their governance."

Among her many notable accomplishments, Lane has been instrumental in equipping "parents with the information, tools, and confidence they need to understand and maneuver through the intricacies of special education, and to see them evolve into powerful advocates for their children." She adds that, "This commitment to advocacy and inclusion is in line with the ethos of endorsing best educational practices and fostering continual development. Being able to meaningfully impact a child's educational journey is the pinnacle of success in this field."

As an adjunct lecturer, Dr. Lane says she "aimed to instill in principal candidates a pragmatic comprehension of special education and the critical role they would assume as future administrators, with an emphasis on social justice and educational leadership." She notes that in retirement, she has "been able to consult and provide training in a variety of areas concerning special education, such as reflecting on one's own practices for improvement, and focusing on student outcomes by examining Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to ensure alignment with state standards, as IEPs play a decisive role in tailoring educational experiences to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities."

In her tenure in the public school system in New York, Lane also served as a K-6 Principal, CPSE/CSE chairperson, and director of special education in rural and suburban school districts in Ulster and Dutchess Counties. Joyce Long, director of special education for the Mohonasen Central School District, says that, "Mrs. Lane has dedicated her career of over 37 years to children with special needs with a strong focus on programming and supporting the needs of all children in public schools."

Lane received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College, Master of Science in education from SUNY Buffalo State, and her doctorate in education leadership from Seton Hall University.

Lane and fellow 2024 award winners will be recognized at SAANYS' annual awards celebration, taking place on May 3 at the Saratoga Hilton.

SAANYS represents nearly 22,000 school administrators, supervisors, and retiree leaders. As a professional association, SAANYS is committed to providing direction, service, and support to the membership in their efforts to improve the quality of education and leadership in New York State schools. SAANYS is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).