Normally the North Country would be buzzing with activity right now. SUNY Plattsburgh students would be back on campus and in town. Traffic up the road to Clinton Community College would be heavy. CV-TEC would have welcomed full classes of students in its professional programs and every school district would be bursting with activity. But this year is different in many ways.

The pandemic has changed the way education is provided from kindergarten to graduate school. And while that has created challenges, increased costs and serious stress, it has also given local educators the opportunity to shine.

In this issue of Strictly Business we are proud to bring you up close and personal with the new president of SUNY Plattsburgh, Dr. Alexander Enyedi. It was snowing when he arrived in Plattsburgh in January to take on his new role. Less than two months later, snow was the least of Dr. E’s problems. Make sure to read his professional and personal Q&A with SB writer Karen Bouvier.

More than 8,300 SUNY Plattsburgh alums live in Clinton County. For this issue we thought it would be interesting to interview a few who came to the area as freshmen and chose to stay after graduation. Their stories underscore the importance of internships and student teaching opportunities as tools for area recruitment.

Dr. John Kowal followed an interesting path from his backyard garden to his current position as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Clinton Community College. Don’t miss SB writer Rob Ivy’s article that provides insight into the journey.

While SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College are the big names in the area, make no mistake, CV-TEC offers training for students – at both the high school level and for adults – that is critical for our business community. Learn about its traditional programs and two popular new ones.

CVPH Medical Center’s School of Radiologic Technologies is meeting the demand for health care professionals trained in x-ray technology, MRIs, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and mammography. With small classes and high-quality instruction, the program turns out graduates that are in high demand.

And then there is this month’s Insight feature with Jay LePage, the retired Commissioner of Clinton County’s Office of Child and Family Services. Ask anyone who worked for Jay during his 18-year tenure at the agency and they will tell you about his kindness and the caring that shaped his leadership style.

In November a program offered by the Champlain Valley Family Center and the National Alliance for Mental Illness will provide training that will help participants become Certified Peer Recovery Advocates and/or Certified Peer Support Specialists. This free program is designed to help support behavioral health agencies across our region. Interested? Check out the details in our article on page 26.

As always North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas wraps up this issue with news about his agency’s support for businesses during the time of COVID and gives us a peak at what we might expect in 2021.

In March, when schools throughout the country shut their doors in the face of a viral pandemic, students entered a new world of education by learning remotely. Now, six months later, we begin again with high hopes tempered with caution. We are fortunate here in the North Country for our strong educational community committed to doing what needs to be done for students and families

…and that’s good for business.