by Dr. Gladys I. Cruz

Donald Kline (center) receives Questar III’s highest honor in April 2013 from then Questar III Board President Robert Gibson and then Questar III District Superintendent James N. Baldwin.

Questar III BOCES is pleased to announce that the Columbia-Greene Educational Center, located on Route 66/Union Turnpike in Greenport, is now named the Donald R. Kline Technical School.

The new name honors the memory and legacy of the late Donald R. Kline, who gave so much of his life to public education in Columbia County and beyond. Questar III will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in the fall along with Kline’s family.

Kline, who served on the Questar III board from 1975 to 2013, passed away on April 24, 2015. Along with his BOCES board colleagues, he was instrumental in shaping Questar III, its programs and services, and its reputation as a regional and statewide leader.

It is fitting to name our technical school for Kline, who provided distinguished leadership as the longest serving board member in the history of Questar III. He retired from the Questar III board as vice president. The then-president was Robert Gibson, a fellow graduate of Germantown High School.

For nearly 40 years, Kline helped guide our BOCES through numerous initiatives, including the merger of Rensselaer & Columbia BOCES with Greene County BOCES in 1977, the addition and renovation of the two technical schools in Hudson and Troy, the adoption of the name Questar III in 1994, and the expansion of programs and services to help meet the evolving needs of our students and districts.

In a 2013 newspaper profile, Kline recalled how Questar III had transformed itself from the 1970s, adding career and technical education (CTE) to its special education programs. This included building and renovating facilities for technical education. Most high school students in Columbia County previously traveled to rented space in Troy or Greene County to receive technical training. In 1978, Questar III moved CTE classes to their current location in Greenport, to the building that is now named for Kline. Questar III later built a technical school in Troy in 1983, which is now named in honor of Gibson.

Questar III’s Donald R. Kline Technical School serves CTE, career studies and special education students from Columbia and Greene counties. These programs, which range from aviation to welding, prepare high school students for the next phase in their educational journey, including the workforce, college, technical school, or the military.

Prior to his retirement from the Questar III board, Kline received the G. Lucius Cary Service Leadership Award recognizing outstanding leadership and contributions through volunteer service that reflect the values and beliefs of Questar III. It is the organization’s highest honor.

Kline proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he joined his father in operating Hopedale Farm and later started his own transportation business, which he ran for 40 years. He understood business and workforce development and how schools helped to prepare our young people for life after high school – this in depth understanding greatly enriched our board.

Kline was devoted to his family and community. He was also a member of the Livingston Memorial Church at Linlithgo, a life member of the Livingston Pumper Company, a member of the Germantown CSD board, and a town councilman. Following his service on the town board, he was elected town supervisor, a position that he held for 25 years and was a member of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors where he made decisions on the county level.

Kline’s other community activities included County Board of Elections, the Lion’s Club, Livingston Recreation Association, a founding member of the Germantown Booster Club, a member of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation and the Industrial Development Agency.

We remain indebted to Donald Kline’s public leadership and service throughout the region. I also want to thank our current board members in schools and municipalities for their service and volunteerism. They help us take a pulse of what is happening in our communities as they shape the policies and initiatives needed to advance our organizations and missions. Please join me in thanking local board members like Donald Kline in Columbia and Greene counties.

This column will appear in the Register Star and The Daily Mail newspapers.

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