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Award-winning Alumnus Returns to Campus


According to Leadership Academy alumnus Thomas E. Kachadurian ’12, associate principal at South Colonie Central High School in Albany, N.Y., there’s no substitute for hard work, people – not things, project or accolades – are what’s most important, and education is key to success.

He shared these thoughts, and more, when he was on campus last week, to talk about his experience as a school leader and what he has learned since he earned his Master of Science in Administration and School Building Leader Licensure at MCLA.

“Education must be the priority to any successful home, community, city, state or nation,” said Kachadurian, who is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

This year alone, he was named as Capital Communications Federal Credit Union’s “Distinguished Educator of the Year,” and the School Administrators Association of New York State’s “Associate Principal of the Year.” 

Kachadurian’s professional journey began at his childhood home.

“My mother was the secretary for the superintendent of a local school, and my father was a well-respected and highly successful coach and health teacher, who eventually worked his way toward associate principal, then building principal at my alma mater, where I serve as associate principal – South Colonie Central High School,” he said.

After earning his master’s degree in teaching from SUNY-Albany in 1999, Kachadurian took a job as an English teacher, “and I never looked back.”

“I taught every grade level, every varying degree of course rigor, every type of student you could place in front of me,” he recalled. “With these students, we brought Shakespeare to life, spun the Anglo-Saxon words of Beowulf into tangibility, vetted the evolution of gothic through Poe and shared tongue and cheek laughter after discovering what Chaucer really meant. Through all of this, I stayed true to the values of my upbringing and added my own spin to things.”

Immediately after he completed his master’s work at MCLA, Kachadurian landed an administrative dean position at Colonie Central High School, which transitioned into an associate principal role after just one year. Along with another associate principal, he polled faculty, asking them to identify character traits they’d like their students to develop.

“Integrity, Community, Accountability, Respect and Empathy were decided upon,” he said, “and ‘iCARE’ became a term we adopted to encompass them all.”

“Over the next four years, iCARE evolved,” Kachadurian explained, “and continues to do so in such amazing and inspiring ways. We have united our community, built leadership opportunities for students, hosted over 20 interactive and informative assemblies, empowered the marginalized and brought hundreds of students together under acts of kindness and volunteerism.”

The iCARE plans and actions, he continued, “are truly remarkable, mostly because they reflect what a united population of positive young adults can do to completely change the way a school building, and even community, operates.”

Since its inception, “We’ve raised nearly $40,000, supported five local charities and turned 2,000 students into agents of effective and positive change,” Kachadurian said. Nothing is impossible, he added, when people work together.

He advises educators to “give students a purpose greater than themselves to unite and inspire them. … Culture is a defining investment in what your community will become. Its results will be revealed in generations yet to be born.”