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Monday, October 29, 2018
John Rieger accepting the Everett R. Dyer Award from NYSSBA President William Miller. Photo by Barbara Bennett, NYSSBA
John Rieger, the president of the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES Board of Education, received the New York State School Boards Association’s (NYSSBA) top award for school board service, the 2018 Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service at the association’s annual convention in New York City on October 25.
Rieger was honored for his 50 years of school board service and his outstanding contributions to public education. NYSSBA President William Miller presented him with the award saying, "John consistently encourages innovation and welcomes new ideas."
"His leadership has fostered a culture of serving component districts, and he has demonstrated exemplary dedication to the students from those districts," said Miller.
Under Rieger’s leadership, WSWHE BOCES has strengthened and streamlined its special education program, expanded employee professional development opportunities, rebranded its Adult Education and Career and Technical Education divisions and created the Early College Career Academy.
During the ceremony, Rieger thanked his wife Millie of 55 years for supporting him so he could volunteer. He said he felt very lucky to be a member of such a talented BOCES board at a moment when CTE, Career and Technical Education, is finally being given its time to shine.
“As some of you may know, I have always been a strong proponent of CTE. Maybe it took the celebrity of Mike Rowe to raise awareness of the value of these programs. Or maybe it’s the glaring skills gap that we now have in our nation. Bottom line is - we need CTE programs. BOCES around the state are leading the way to provide pathways for students to find their niche and make their mark.”
Rieger added, “this is also an important time for special education. Awareness has been elevated to show that the status quo isn’t good enough. We need to take our blinders off. With the right education, there is a productive place in our society for everyone.”
When Rieger was a young man someone planted a seed that he run for a seat on a rural school district board of education. Reflecting on his service as a school board member for over 50 years, Rieger urged the audience to keep up what they are doing and to encourage their neighbors, family, and friends to serve. He hopes that by sharing positive experiences with others, it will inspire others.
“You are all leaders.” Rieger told the audience. “You are our community fabric. And I am so happy to be among you.”
In 1963, Rieger was one of the youngest elected school board members in New York State. He served on the Schuylerville Central School District Board of Education until 1984. He was elected to the Saratoga-Warren BOCES Board of Education in 1984. He has remained on the board which merged with the Hamilton, Essex and Washington BOCES in 1993. Since then, the entity has been known as WSWHE BOCES.
The NYSSBA Distinguished Service Award is presented each year to one current or former school board member among the thousands in the state who has done the most for public education and the children of his or her community. It is the highest tribute NYSSBA bestows upon a school board member.