Kelley School principal named Administrator of the Year

COURTESY OF BRENDA SCHOOL

Kelley School Principal Jeff Hamelinck won this year’s George Vito Elementary Administrator of the Year Award from the School Administrators Association of New York State, Region 11. 

“On behalf of the selection committee and the Region 11 Executive Committee, it is my great pleasure to congratulate you for being the person identified as the Elementary Administrator of the Year,” wrote Joe Pustulka, Region 11 chair and director of operations for the Webster Central School District, as he informed Hamelinck of the award. “The support shown by those who nominated you was overwhelming, and recognizes how you are truly appreciated for your efforts in your school and your district.”

Jeff Hamelinck.

Region 11 encompasses Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties.

“I am honored and very humbled by this recognition,” Hamelinck said. “I am extraordinarily fortunate to serve Newark kids, families and the community, alongside amazing educators within our district, our BOCES and certainly SAANYS Region 11. I regularly learn from these colleagues, who inspire my practice and service to kids helping me become a better version of myself every day.”

Pustulka said Hamelinck was the clear choice of the selection committee based on the recommendations he received from current and former administrators, teachers and a student.

“He’s obviously a man who has made a real impression on his colleagues, staff and students,” Pustulka said. “He’s a real school/community leader.”

Kelley Assistant Principal Margo Lacure nominated Hamelinck for the award and obtained all the letters of recommendation.

“They picked the right person,” she said. “Jeff is 100% deserving of this award. He has genuinely served the school district and this community, and this award recognizes his leadership.”

In her letter of recommendation, Lacure wrote, “In the seven years that Jeffrey Hamelinck has served as a principal in the Newark Central School District, he has done much that is worthy of recognition. Jeff served as the principal at Lincoln School, where he used his deep understanding of primary curriculum and ability to form relationships with students and staff alike to lead the building.

“When the district experienced a change in leadership at the intermediate level, Jeff was asked to lead at Kelley School that serves over 450 students in grades 3-5. With Jeff’s leadership, the school has made gains in academic performance, MTSS programming and the ability to support students with diverse social, emotional and behavioral needs.

“Jeff’s presence in the building is noted and felt by all staff and students. He’s not often at his desk, because he spends time in the hallways, in classrooms and out on the grounds interacting with our students and checking in on staff. He uses data in decision-making and as a springboard to make difficult decisions. Under Jeff’s tenure, Kelley School shifted to new reading and writing curricula focused on diversity, tolerance, acceptance, and culturally responsive and representative literature. As if one curricular change was not enough, Jeff also led our school in the adoption of a new math curriculum that allows students to develop as critical thinkers and mathematicians. Curriculum shifts are never easy, but Jeff has led these changes by focusing on improved student outcomes.

“Jeff is a one-of-a-kind educator and leader. He pushes people’s thinking and asks tough questions to get to the root of problems. He distributes leadership and builds the capacity of staff. Jeff is direct, kind, student-focused and consistently focused on making Kelley School a better place. He is most deserving of this nomination.”

Now in his 23rd year as an educator in the Newark Central School District, Hamelinck became principal of Kelley School in July 2015, and was principal of Lincoln School in 2012-15. He previously was an administrative intern/teacher on special assignment at Kelley and spent the first 10 years in the district as a primary teacher at Perkins School.

“Jeff is a consummate professional who unequivocally puts students first,” Superintendent Susan Hasenauer said. “He knows each child by name and is in classrooms daily. I couldn't imagine this award going to a more deserving administrator.”

Hamelinck graduated in 1998 with a degree in elementary education from SUNY Fredonia and received his masterʼs in computer education from Nazareth College in 2001. He achieved National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education in 2005 and received his Certificate of Advanced Study in education administration from SUNY Oswego in 2009.