2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Associate Superintendent for Business Services
Since the start of his 17-year career at Nassau BOCES, James Widmer has worked diligently to make the agency’s programs a success and to achieve the best possible outcome for the students and school districts it serves. He has proven to be an outstanding asset, forging critical relationships with district superintendents and business officials, and serving as the right hand to the district superintendent. He is a mentor and guide to his colleagues, eager to share his knowledge and to offer his support.
Mr. Widmer has a host of diverse responsibilities, from resolving human resource issues and negotiating contracts, to working with attorneys and conducting supervisory meetings. His most vital role, however, is as the backbone of Nassau BOCES Business Services. He oversees the entire agency budget and is responsible for ensuring that it is fiscally stable, by guarding against waste, and streamlining procedures to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
Mr. Widmer has proven to be indispensable in this regard, saving school districts money in a variety of innovative ways. For example, he has helped to save approximately $145,000 annually by eliminating borrowing through costly Revenue Anticipation Notes. He spearheaded the effort to refinance more than $10M in Dormitory Authority Bonds, saving districts $1.9M over 11 years in debt service payments. He is also Nassau BOCES’ lead person in the lease and purchase of buildings. Over the years, he has played a critical role in the purchase of multiple facilities, saving districts more than $2.3M by eliminating costly leases through the purchase of the properties.
Mr. Widmer was the driving force behind referendums to purchase some of Nassau BOCES most vital facilities, including Carman Road School, for students with multiple disabilities, and Jerusalem Avenue Elementary School, for students with learning, behavioral and developmental disabilities. Most recently, Mr. Widmer was instrumental in the agency’s successful transition of the Gerald R. Claps Career and Technical Center, a program that serves more than 300 career and technical education students.
“James Widmer is tireless in his efforts, driven by a powerful motivation to ensure that the students of Nassau County receive the absolute highest quality education,” wrote his award nominator. “His outstanding leadership skills, combined with his courteous, patient, even- tempered disposition, have won the respect of the entire agency and its component districts.”