Looking Back at 50: Mr. Dieckmann

A series of interviews with the principals of the Morse School

By Robert English and Tristan Mawyin

Mr. Dieckmann in 2009 with reporters Hannah Watt and Aubrey Weeks.

Mr. Dieckmann in 2009 with reporters Hannah Watt and Aubrey Weeks.

Our current principal, Mr. Donald Dieckmann never dreamed of being the main figure in an elementary school 50 miles from his home, but life had a different plan. He has the unique distinction of guiding the Grant D. Morse School as it celebrates it’s fiftieth anniversary. Mr. Dieckmann is the fourth principal in the school’s history and has been able to take the leadership into the next fifty years.
“I have been principal for six years, I became principal in 2009,” he reported. Mr. Dieckmann replaced Mr. Turner who took the position of Saugerties Schools Superintendent.
Before coming to Morse, Mr. Dieckmann was a middle school guidance counselor in the Mohonasen School District near Albany, NY. He was given the news of an opening at the school when he saw a mutual friend at a relative’s funeral.

Mr. Dieckmann with Superman, aka Mr. Greco, and the Show You Care Raffle Grand Prize Winner, Samantha Tubby.

“I saw my high school friend Mr. Seth Turner at my uncle’s funeral,” said Mr. Dieckmann. Soon they started talking about jobs and Mr. Dieckmann told Mr. Turner he had his certification for school principal and Mr. Turner asked him to send an email when he got home. “I did, and the email said call me whenever you get a chance,” he said. Three hours later Mr. Turner called him and advised him to send in a request for an application. After an interview process and a number of meetings with various groups, he was offered the job.
He became the fourth principal and he said that four was his lucky number also his rugby number in college. He said that being the fourth principal means that all principals loved being here and that is why they stayed for a long time.

In his time at Morse much has changed since his arrival. Education standards have changed, teacher evaluations have changed and the staff at the school has changed.
A major change is the Common Core Learning Standards in the content areas such as Reading and Math. Very little was known about these new ways of teaching and learning and Mr. Dieckmann had to encourage the kids and teachers to lbe patient with the changes, yet continue to strive for excellence.
Another milestone for Mr. Dieckmann was the completion of the Morse Playground. Though the fundraising and the purchase of the playground was completed during Mr. Turner’s time as principal, Mr. Dieckmann oversaw the construction of the playground.

Morse's first principal, Mr. Buonfiglio, shares a moment with Mr. D. in preparation of the 50 anniversary of GDM.

Morse’s first principal, Mr. Buonfiglio, shares a moment with Mr. D. in preparation of the 50 anniversary of GDM.

Mr. Dieckmann is also responsible for leading the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school. Mr D. said there are many plans to commemorate the 50th year. They are going to do a float for the Fourth of July parade as well a a big opening day celebration at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
Not bad for a guy who wanted to be a police officer when he went to college at SUNY Cortland. Instead, life’s road to him on a different path. Although he never dreamed of becoming a principal, he finds himself leading a great school in a very important time of its long and glorious history.