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F. Donald “Don” Myers

Man with glasses wearing a dark suit and tie

F. Donald Myers

The driving force behind the creation of the South Glens Falls Central School District in 1945, Donald Myers served as the first superintendent of the Saratoga-Warren Board of Cooperative Education Services, or BOCES, from 1949 to 1977. His visionary leadership led to the consolidation of 192 Saratoga County school districts, many of them rural one-room schoolhouses, into 11 independent school districts. He also was a strong advocate for vocational education and special education, as well as programs for gifted and talented students.

The BOCES educational center in Saratoga is named the F. Donald Myers Educational Center in his honor, and during his tenure, he participated in the planning and construction of all or part of all six current school buildings in the South Glens Falls School District.

Even after he retired, Mr. Myers’ counsel was still sought by administrators and teachers throughout the district. He helped the district select its first superintendent, Judson Walker, in 1945, and participated in the selection of each subsequent superintendent until his death in 1997 at the age of 85.

A 1992 story in the school district’s newsletter said Mr. Myers’ goal was “making quality education a reality for all students.”

Mr. Myers grew up on his family’s 450-acre farm at the base of Mount McGregor in Wilton. His grandfather bought the property from early town settler Duncan McGregor in 1835.

A graduate of Saratoga Springs High School, Mr. Myers started his teaching career in 1930 at age 18, teaching grades five through eight in a two-room schoolhouse in Gansevoort. In the spring of 1941, at the age of 29, he was elected superintendent of schools for the Second Supervisory District of Saratoga County, which included Saratoga, Wilton, Milton, Northumberland and Moreau. He replaced the retiring Oliver W. Winch, after whom the district’s Middle School is now named.

Four years later, he was instrumental in the formation of the South Glens Falls Central School District, one of the earliest school consolidations in New York State.

In 1949, the supervisory district formed a BOCES and named Mr. Myers as its superintendent. He served in that role for 28 years.

Former School Superintendent William Wetherbee said of Mr. Myers, “Don Myers, with responsibilities for many schools in Saratoga and Warren Counties as well as the BOCES he oversaw, always maintained an uncommon level of interest and support for South Glens Falls and its schools. His wisdom, experience, and judgment were invaluable assets, and South Glens Falls Central School District was for decades the fortunate beneficiary of his endeavors and contributions.”

A farmer himself, Mr. Myers persuaded residents of pre-Northway Saratoga County “to give up their rural one-room schoolhouses in favor of today’s system of centralized school districts,” said a 1996 story in the Schenectady Gazette.

“You have no idea what an effect it had on centralization that I owned this farm,” Mr. Myers said in the story. “The people with the one-room schoolhouses were all farmers. I was involved in rural activities like Grange and Farm Bureau. They knew me. I could talk to them.”

When Mr. Myers became district superintendent in 1941, “he ran 50 one- and two-room schools and two village schools from the pantry of his farmhouse. His wife, Mary, did the paperwork.”

He said he began his education in a one-room schoolhouse in Wilton. There was no electricity, heat or indoor plumbing.

“You’d have a pot-bellied stove, and the teacher or one of the older students would come in early to start the fire,” he recalled in the Gazette story. “In the morning you’d come in and the inkwells would be frozen.”

After retiring in 1977, Mr. Myers was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Skidmore College, and a certificate of merit by the New York State School Boards Association in recognition “of 47 years of dedicated service to the children of Saratoga and Warren Counties.”

For many years, he and Mary would host pre-school and Ballard Elementary School children at the family farm, enhancing the lives of yet another generation of South Glens Falls students with hay rides, a petting zoo and pumpkin-patch tours.

He also served as chairman of the Ethics Board for the Town of Wilton for many years, and was a member of the Saratoga County Planning Board and the board of the directors of the Saratoga Senior Citizens Center.

His son, Dr. John Myers, a 1960 graduate of South Glens Falls Central School, is a retired physician, and his daughter, Dr. Ann Myers, a 1963 graduate of South Glens Falls Central School, retired as superintendent of Questar III, the BOCES of Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene Counties. He has two granddaughters, Jessica Moran and Laura Myers, both of whom attended South Glens Falls Central School. His daughter-in-law, Norma, taught foreign languages at South High for 16 years.