New principal at C-R's Ryder


By Jim Poole

Cobleskill-Richmondville’s Ryder School has a new principal.
And while Jessie Westfall is excited, she’s also aware of the challenges in her new job––learning the landscape and how the pandemic affects school’s reopening.
Ms. Westfall assumed the top spot at the elementary school July 1, replacing interim principal Jerry Spicer, who filled in after Kevin Kelly resigned for a position in another district.
Ms. Westfall, 38, was the elementary principal at Worcester for five years before coming to C-R. Before that, she taught first grade at Duanesburg for 10 years.
“I’m very excited to be at the primary level, where I started in teaching,” Ms. Westfall said.
“And I’m excited to have a larger administrative team to work with and ask questions of.”
She described one of her assets as being able to build relationships with students, teachers and families. Also, Ms. Westfall said, she’s a good communicator and is solution-oriented.
“I’m also a team player,” she added. “It’s important to bounce ideas off other people instead of depending on one mindset.”
Finally, Ms. Westfall feels she’s a positive person, although that’s sometimes difficult these days.
But there are ways to look positively at difficulties schools and families face during the pandemic.
“Here’s what we learned along the way,” Ms. Westfall said, “and we’ll come out of it stronger than before.”
She’s been asking questions to learn about the school district and also participates in discussions about reopening.
“I want to know what matters most to people and what needs to be improved,” she said.
Ms. Westfall is also contacting Ryder teachers to meet with them.
“It’s one-on-one and totally optional,” she said of the meetings, which will start this week. “A good percentage of teachers have responded.”
Ms. Westfall and her husband, Dennis, live in Delanson and have two daughters: Elouise, who’ll be a third-grader at Schoharie, and Charlotte, who’ll be three this year.
Mr. Westfall is in sales and technical work with GPS.