At the Monday evening meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education at Kaegebein Elementary School, Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann announced the retirement of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Karen Karmazin effective Dec. 7.
Christmann said that Karmazin would be missed and that he would have more comments on her tenure with Grand Island at the next board meeting. Karmazin declined to speak much at the meeting about her retirement, but did comment that her years of service have been "an extraordinary experience."
Christmann also reported on the progress toward filling the position of principal at Veronica E. Connor Middle School. Principal Bruce Benson will be retiring from his post this year after serving since the 2000-01 school year. Christmann said 16 preliminary interviews have narrowed the field of candidates to six people who will be interviewed by the search committee next Wednesday.
In academic news, Christmann said that Business First ranked the Grand Island school district 29 out of 431 upstate New York districts for academic success. The formula used to arrive at the rankings considered performance on 21 Regents exams and also statewide standardized test scores from 2007-10.
"The focus of the Grand Island Central School District is the academic success of its students," Christmann said. "From the time that our students enter kindergarten until the day they graduate, our staff creates a learning climate second to none. Attaining our top-10 Western New York district ranking several years ago was a reflection of hard staff work and great parental support. Seeing where we rank among more than 400 upstate districts at No. 29 will create an impetus for us to not only continue to provide the high quality of instruction that we have seen in the past but to strive to do even better on behalf of our great students."
He also said that Grand Island made the National Advanced Placement Achievement District Honor Roll. The measure considers increasing scores and expanded student access to the courses and exams. Later in the meeting, Christmann said that AP access would further expand through a new AP test fee and incentive program, which will be opened to all students who are eligible for the free lunch program.
In financial and capital project news, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Loraine Ingrasci said that a portable pool lift will be available to handicapped students in March. In addition, high school room 107 will be renovated using in-house staff, at a substantial savings to the district. Additionally, Christmann told trustees that Moody's Investors Services and Analytics has given Grand Island the second highest financial rating in upstate New York.
Lastly, trustees approved a motion to adopt board policy No. 7552: "Bullying: Peer Abuse in the Schools." The board will hear a presentation on the district's bullying committee at the board's regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 21, at Huth Road Elementary School.