For as long as she can remember, Deputy Superintendent Theresa Middleton knew she wanted to be a teacher. Inspired by the joy that teaching brought to her father and great-aunt, Middleton pursued her passion, studied education at SUNY Plattsburgh, and practiced student-teaching at Queensbury Middle School.
“Afterward, I was hired to teach special education at Queensbury Elementary School,” Middleton said. “And I’ve been here ever since.”
As Middleton sets to retire at the end of this school year, she reflected on a career that included stints in and out of the classroom. Now in her 33rd year at Queensbury Union Free School District, Middleton has held various teaching and administrative positions throughout her career.
After spending close to a decade in elementary school, middle school and high school classrooms, Middleton began administrative coursework. Soon after, a position became available for assistant principal at QMS, and Middleton was asked to serve as a “teacher on special assignment” to fill the vacancy.
“It was a pretty unique opportunity because the district had never done a teacher on special assignment before,” Middleton said. “I did that for two years. After the first year, I received my [administrative] certification.”
From then on, Middleton bounced back and forth between administrative and teaching positions. She served as director of student support services and a fourth-grade teacher before accepting her current role as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction/deputy superintendent – a position she has held for the last 10 years.
With a to-do list that veers from professional development to writing grants to conducting classroom observations, Middleton describes the deputy superintendent role as a “supportive position.”
“It’s a behind-the-scenes position that I feel helps keep everything cohesive,” she said. “Every day is different.”
While Middleton’s day often keeps her in the district office, she makes time to visit the district’s four schools and interact with students and teachers. Most recently, Middleton became involved with a book club to help spark an interest for reading in young students.
“Last school year, the first to join were three girls in the third grade,” Middleton said. “We met once a week and read about seven or eight different books together. The book club is going to start up again next week. It’s just really fun to interact with the kids…it reminds you why we’re here.”
Middleton is set to retire on June 30, 2016, but taking a break from work is not in her retirement plans. She’s looking into doing some education consulting work or tapping into her grant writing background. No matter what Middleton does, she says she’ll always remember her time in the Queensbury Union Free School District.
“Queensbury is very progressive and we all work so well together,” Middleton said. “We trust each other, we know that everyone has the greater good in mind, and it’s all about the kids. I think that’s something you don’t necessarily find in every district.”