Longtime Watervliet educator, superintendent retires


WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Dr. Lori Caplan is putting away her pencils and closing the book on her career, but not before talking with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker. The Superintendent of the Watervliet City School District certainly took that motto to heart with her students.

“My rule has always been treat kids as you would your own,” said Caplan.

“She’s really nice. She’s a great person,” said Camdyn.
Anya asked, “You’re going to miss her?”
“Yes,” replied Camdyn.

After decades of teaching, including 16 years with the Watervliet City School District, Dr. Caplan spoke about what she is most proud of in her career.

“I am most proud of the students that come here feeling safe. And that we offer equity to our students,” added Caplan.

Her tenure in Watervliet included six years as Principal of the Jr.-Sr. High School and then another 10 years as superintendent. Under her leadership, Watervliet went from being the number one most fiscally stressed school district in the state, according to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, to having a healthy fund balance.

She made improvements like with a new football turf field for their Watervliet Cannoneers. She also added an in-school health clinic for students’ mental and physical health and partnered with BOCES so that economically challenged students can earn a two-year college degree at no cost. Under her watch, graduation rates rose from 73 to almost 90 percent, and during the stress of the pandemic, she embraced change.

“This forced everybody into a new normal, and hopefully, the new normal will serve children better than the old norm,” she said.

Taking over her post, will be the current Assistant Superintendent Dr. Donald Stevens.

“I am constantly seeing her out of her office stopping in classrooms, and it’s the same kind of leader that I plan to be,” said Dr. Stevens.

Caplan says she will enjoy full-time “Beach Therapy” when she moves to Myrtle Beach while she reflects proudly on her career.

“I went into this profession to be an urban educator, and that’s where I excelled. And I left this profession better than I found it. So there will be no tears.”

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