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Herkimer BOCES administrator reflects on near 44-year career

Posted 12/2/22

Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Director of Adult, Early Childhood and Outreach Education Mary Kline recently received an Outstanding Educator Award.

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Herkimer BOCES administrator reflects on near 44-year career

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HERKIMER — Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Director of Adult, Early Childhood and Outreach Education Mary Kline recently received an Outstanding Educator Award at the Genesis Group’s annual Celebration of Education.

As Kline nears 44 years at Herkimer BOCES in January 2023 and retirement in June 2023, she reflected on going to college with plans to become a reading teacher. She started out substitute teaching, worked as a teacher aide and joined Herkimer BOCES as a migrant tutor in January 1979.

Kline became the migrant coordinator and took on additional administrative roles over the years.

She said she is happy with the path her career took. Kline said she has enjoyed the job because her involvement with multiple programs provided her with a variety of experiences and kept each day feeling unique.

“You have so many different programs to work with, and they all help people, which I like,” she said. “And I’ve worked with wonderful staff – some of them worked with me for more than 30 years.”

Kline received the Outstanding Educator Award Nov. 17 at the Genesis Group’s annual Celebration of Education at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro. Kline was also a recipient of the School Administrators Association of New York State Leadership and Support Award in 2016.

Herkimer BOCES Director of Special Education and Alternative Education Roberta Matthews and Herkimer BOCES Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Kati Ferguson nominated Kline for the award for her leadership and devotion.

“Her title does not capture the enormity of her role at Herkimer BOCES and how valuable she is in supporting not only the students of the Herkimer region but also students in over 14 New York state counties,” Matthews and Ferguson wrote in the nomination letter. “Mary has implemented countless new initiatives and educational programs for our region, including a very successful migrant education program, prekindergarten programs housed in five school districts, support services for students who are homeless, adult and continuing education programming and a nursing preparation program.”

Her License Practical Nursing program was specifically designed to be flexible and responsive to the obstacles returning adult students often face, and she was able to secure more than $1 million in outside funding in tuition support for these students and successfully facilitated the graduation of 622 licensed practical nurses since 2010.

Kline is also instrumental in securing The Literacy Zone funding for the area. It provides literacy support for residents who are 16 years and older who would like help accessing services to improve their literacy skills or to receive assistance with overcoming barriers that may prevent them from being successful, Matthews and Ferguson wrote. 

The Eastern Regional Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Services Program overseen by Kline covers more than 11,458 square miles of territory across 14 counties, after Kline grew the program from serving five counties when she started.

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