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Peekskill Schools' Employee Debra McLeod Honored As 'Outstanding Citizen'

Debra McLeod
Debra McLeod Photo Credit: Contributed

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. --  Peekskill City School District’s Debra McLeod was honored as an "Outstanding Citizen" at a City Council meeting on Feb. 14.

The City of Peekskill celebrates Black History Month each February by honoring outstanding African-American members of the community for their personal and/or professional achievements, civic contributions, and general good deeds that have favorably impacted local citizens, according to a release from the school district.

McLeod works as a senior office assistant to the superintendent of Peekskill Schools, and has served as the Peekskill City School District’s clerk for the past 12 years.

She was nominated for the honor by Peekskill Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Fine, who praised McLeod at the City Council meeting, recognizing her humility and dedication to Peekskill schools and citing her as a “positive change agent in the Peekskill City School District.”

At the City Council meeting, Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina presented McLeod with an award for outstanding service to the City of Peekskill.

“You are a beloved member of the school community who truly makes a difference in the lives of children in the Peekskill City School District,” Catalina said.

McLeod accepted her award in front of friends, family members and school district employees who came out to see her honored at the City’s meeting.

“I was elated and humbled at the experience,” McLeod said. “I appreciate the recognition and want to thank those who nominated me.”

McLeod has worked for Peekskill schools since 1985. She began her career at Peekskill working as a substitute teacher aide. In 1989, McLeod began working at the Peekskill Alternative Secondary School (P.A.S.S.), also known as Park Street, as a teaching aide and later became a teaching assistant there, the release said.

“I assisted Mr. Stuart Sabshin, an English teacher, in teaching the students computer applications such as Microsoft Word, Database and Excel,” McLeod recalled of her early years at PCSD. “I worked with a wonderful group of teachers and staff who were dedicated in seeing our students succeed. The students were also fun to be around and were very near and dear to my heart. [Park Street] was home for me.”

McLeod was approved as senior office assistant by former Peekskill Superintendent Judith Johnson in 2005. McLeod also credits Johnson with helping to guide her into her current position as district clerk.

“Judith asked if I would be interested in becoming the district clerk,” McLeod said. “I had no knowledge of what it entailed, but I was up for the challenge, so I accepted. With her guidance, workshops and working with a caring Board of Education, it helped me grow as a district clerk.”

McLeod currently manages all of the day-to-day needs of the superintendent’s office along with Superintendent Secretary Amalfis (Alma) Zucco, and is the district’s records management officer.

She also handles much of the preparation and planning necessary for the District’s Annual Budget Vote and Board Member Elections, including machine rental, ballot duties, securing inspectors and more.

“All in all, I am enjoying my tenure as senior office assistant and district clerk,” McLeod said. “I work with people who are kind and caring and have the best interest of Peekskill’s students at heart.”

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