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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 27, 2007

Filling in at V’ville
Diegel is ‘a perfect fit’

By Rachel Dutil

VOORHEESVILLE – Ed Diegel says he has a "soft spot" in his heart for Voorheesville.

Diegel has come out of retirement to fill in as associate principal at the Clayton A. Bouton High School.

Michael Paolino, who currently fills the post, has been acting as principal, while Principal Mark Diefendorf is out on a leave of absence. Paolino will soon leave the district to accept a job as high school principal at Guilderland. (See related story.)

Diegel, who has worked in education for 35 years, began working in the Voorheesville School District in 1986 — he was the associate principal at the high school for three years. He then became principal of the elementary school, a post he held for 15 years, before retiring three years ago.

"It’s a comfortable place to return to," said Diegel of Voorheesville. "The only down side is that Mr. Diefendorf is ill. I hope he’s back as soon as possible," he said.

Diegel "has a wealth of knowledge of the district," said Paolino. "It’s been natural for him to fall into place," he said.

A majority of the students in the high school, said Paolino, were in the elementary school during Diegel’s last years there. "He was a perfect fit to fill in," he added.

"It’s a lot of fun to see the students who have grown up so much from the last time I saw them," Diegel told The Enterprise. "This is a unique opportunity that an elementary school principal never gets" to jump ahead in time. Reuniting with them, for better or worse," he said with a smile.

In his job as associate principal, Diegel is involved in teacher observations, supervising staff, and disciplining students, he said. It is also his job "to help Mr. Paolino in any way I can, and also to help ease the return of Mr. Diefendorf so he won’t face a backlog of things that have to be done," said Diegel.

"I really enjoy coming back. It’s fun," he said.

Diegel said he was "more than happy" to accept the offer made to him by Superintendent Linda Langevin to come back to the district temporarily, to fill in.

After three years of retirement, the early morning ringing of an alarm clock was not a welcome wake-up, said Diegel.

"When the alarm went off at 5:30, and it was so dark out, I sat on the edge of the bed wondering if I had made a mistake," Diegel joked, adding that his two dogs looked at him as if he were crazy.

Paolino and Diegel were jovial as they spoke to The Enterprise. They kidded about their competing fantasy baseball teams. Paolino explained that a group of teachers and administrators have formed a fantasy baseball league.

The league helps to keep a "collegiality among us," said Paolino.

Paolino is optimistic about his future at Guilderland and nostalgic about leaving Voorheesville. He said he will miss the connections and relationships he has with students, teachers, and parents. The sense of community at Voorheesville, he said, is one of the key components to the district’s success.

"It’s a beautiful place to come to work every day," he said, citing his admiration for the escarpment, which provides a scenic backdrop to the school. "It’s something I’ve always appreciated in my nine-plus years here," he said.

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