New assistant super of Building and Grounds at GCSD

Ellen Taussig

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer
Ellen Taussig, right, smiles after the Guilderland School Board on March 6 appointed her as the assistant superintendent of Building and Grounds. Next to her is Cliff Nooney, the superintendent of Building and Grounds.

GUILDERLAND — Ellen Taussig grew up in New England, the youngest of four siblings. “When you have three older brothers, you definitely learn how to work,” she said.

Her new work is as the assistant superintendent of Building and Grounds for the sprawling suburban Guilderland School District. The department has about 60 employees that maintain seven school buildings as well as a bus garage and grounds. Taussig, 56, was unanimously appointed to the post by the school board on Tuesday, March 6, and started work that day. She will earn $80,000 annually in the 12-month-a year position.

Taussig is the first woman to hold the post, said Superintendent Marie Wiles. “We did a full search … She stood out among the applicants … She was very thoughtful in her responses of how to support the mission of the school,” said Wiles.

Taussig replaces Stan Dean, who retired, said Wiles. The job title and duties have been changed since Dean retired as director of custodial services, said Wiles. “It’s not just the cleaning,” said Wiles of the focus for the new post. “She will be a back-up to our superintendent of public works, Cliff Nooney. The two will tag-team.”

Taussig graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine, studying liberal arts. She then, just like her brothers, started out in sales, following in their father’s footsteps. “He gave us the gift of gab,” she said of her father.

She worked for 20 years at Honeywell, mostly with heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, and then for six years at Trane.

She left Trane in 2011, explaining, “My desire was to work on the other side, on the customer side.” So she worked at the Berkshire Medical Center.

On Friday, having already weathered a snowstorm on Wednesday, and the evacuation of Lynnwood Elementary School on Thursday, Taussig said she was enjoying her new job.

“I’m a big person to observe and take in how things are currently done,” she said. “I’m impressed with the organization here,” she said of the Guilderland schools. She said there was a “cohesive team” with a lot of expertise.

Her job, she said, will focus on day-today operations, addressing work requests — from lighting to doors — and working on preventative maintenance.

Her philosophy is, “Do it ahead of time, and avoid breakdowns.”

Taussig described herself as “a big sports fan,” from high school to college to professional sports. She played field hockey and softball in school and touch football with her brothers.

So, she said, she is looking forward to rooting for the Guilderland teams.

Taussig concluded, “I love work with a purpose.” She considers her new job just that. “What better purpose than making sure everybody has a good environment to learn?” she asked.

More Guilderland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.