Longtime Olean Schools Superintendent Leaves Retirement To Lead ‘Faith in Action’
OLEAN — A longtime local school administrator has left retirement to become the new president of Archbishop Walsh Academy and Southern Tier Catholic School. Dr. Colleen Taggerty – a familiar leader who was superintendent of Olean City School District for nine years – assumed chief executive duties at the private academy July 25th.
Dr. Taggerty’s academic career spans four decades in both classrooms and administrative offices of public school districts large and small. She retired from OCSD in 2017, but her call to be a shaper of young minds never waned.
“I guess you could say there was unfinished business,” Dr. Taggerty said. “My heart never left the classroom when I retired. It never left the administrative capacities that help what happens in the classroom – all the little things that add up to benefit our children and build the future.”
As Walsh/STCS President, Dr. Taggerty will oversee all school operations – from curriculum development and business administration to donor relations and community outreach. Following retirement, the Portville native most recently served as interim superintendent at Fredonia Central School District.
Dr. Taggerty was also the Call to Leadership coordinator and an administrative coach at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, where she instructed and mentored aspiring school administrators. She was an adjunct professor at University of Rochester, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Community College.
As superintendent of Olean’s schools, Dr. Taggerty managed numerous multimillion-dollar capital projects to improve facilities, all while navigating troubling financial times that faced all New York State public school districts in the early 2010s.
“A leader of Dr. Taggerty’s caliber is exactly what we need,” said Frank McAndrew, President of the Walsh/STCS Board of Trustees. “We’ve known her as a respected figure in our communities for many years. And her profound impacts, not just as an educator but a do-gooder, made the decision that much easier.
“She’s not just an administrator. Sure, she’ll help us along our new strategic plan and lead us into the future. But just as importantly, Dr. Taggerty is the ultimate educator. Her presence is felt every day in the classroom, where positive outcomes for our children are needed most.”
Dr. Taggerty’s passion for education began in high school when she worked in the BOCES Child Care Program as a teacher aide at the ReHabilitation Center. Her career blossomed both inside and outside the classroom, particularly impacting students with special needs as a coach for the Special Olympics. She has expertise in numerous intelligence theories and learning methods for students of all ages and ability levels, gained through years of classroom teaching at OCSD and elsewhere.
She earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and also completed SUNY Oswego’s Superintendent’s Development Program. She has a Master’s Degree in Educational and a Certificate in Educational Leadership from St. Bonaventure University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary/Special Education from the University at Buffalo.
“I’ve always strived for the next level in my own education and personal development – whatever that required at the time – but the greater goal was always in the spirit of service,” said Dr. Taggerty, who has also served as superintendent at Ripley and in various administrative roles at C-A BOCES. “While I have accomplished much in my professional career, my most precious accomplishments are the relationships I have built with my family and friends.”
Dr. Taggerty is a passionate community volunteer. She has generously volunteered her time with local charitable organizations including, among others, the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Olean City School District Foundation, Olean Local Development Corp., and numerous foundations and scholarship committees.
“Dr. Taggerty’s devotion to community is very appealing to our small Catholic school. This academy is a community and a close-knit family in itself ” said Brittany Thierman, a 2007 Walsh graduate, who is now Board Vice President. “She’s not just an experienced educator, but she cares deeply about people. And in her time in the public spotlight, not nearly enough emphasis was given to her as a woman of Catholic faith. We’re happy she can cap her career putting that faith in action here at Walsh/STCS.”
For more information about Archbishop Walsh Academy and Southern Tier Catholic School, visit https://www.stcswalsh.org/