by Kathleen Duff
In an unexpected addition to Monday evening's Board of Education meeting agenda, board President David Goris announced his resignation from the board, stating he no longer has sufficient time to devote to the position.
Of Goris, retiring Interim Superintendent of School Robert Christmann said, "Dave has been a stellar member of the Board of Education. To serve as board president is a very difficult position." Goris was voted into the position in 2011 after Richard Little lost his bid for re-election to the board. Trustee Paul Krull is the current vice president.
Christmann also spoke about his own retirement from Grand Island and his 45-year career in public education. In an emotional address, he said of his time as an educator, "It's been a great run." He told the students present at the meeting, "Everyday, you have shown a reason to be proud of you."
Christmann has been serving as interim superintendent since October when he officially retired. He has taken a position as executive director of the Western New York Education Council, based at the Graduate School of Education of the State University of New York at Buffalo. A not-for-profit organization, the council helps school districts with personnel searches, research, mentoring and other administrative development. The organization's website is www.wnyesc.org.
At its December meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education decided in a 4-3 vote to exercise its prerogative to terminate Christmann's contract as interim superintendent. Monday night, trustees approved the hiring of Paul Hashem as interim superintendent. Hashem is the retired superintendent of the city of Lackawanna schools. He will serve at Grand Island until the anticipated seating of the new, permanent superintendent on July 1.
In other news, the board approved the promotion of Karen Cuddy-Miller and Joe Giarrizzo to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and to assistant superintendent of school business services, respectively.
Giarrizzo reported on capital project planning, including changes to the "loop road," which will be constructed behind Charlotte Sidway Elementary School to facilitate buses moving on and off the property after the new transportation facility is built. Giarrizzo said that a "wetland problem" was discovered behind the school - a pond that was not taken into account when the initial environmental survey was done. Giarrizzo asked for $5,500 for more testing beyond the original $10,000 to make sure that the additional survey work is complete and correct. "We want to make sure that the project is environmentally sound," he stated.
Giarrizzo also reported that Cannon Design will charge a flat fee of no more than $340,000 for their services related to the transportation facility project. The board approved that contract as well as the Campus Construction Management, EDR Companies (environmental impact), Paradigm Environmental Service (asbestos) and Cannon Design contracts for the new bus garage.
Regarding school security, Christmann said that all high school and middle school staff met this week to discuss higher visibility of staff at the schools. He also said that greater security measures already have been planned into the district's capital project, which affects all five school buildings.
The next meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education is a joint meeting with the Grand Island Town Board on Monday, Jan. 28.
Board of Education Trustees
Send comments to the board at [email protected].