by Kathleen Duff
The Grand Island Board of Education held its monthly meeting Monday evening in the Professional Development Suite in Grand Island High School. All seven trustees were present and worked through a short but varied business agenda.
The board unanimously approved the hiring of John Fitzpatrick, currently assistant principal at Edward Town Middle School in the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District, as the Principal at Veronica E. Connor Middle School. Fitzpatrick has several years of experience as a teacher in Niagara-Wheatfield, along with a strong administrative background as an assistant principal.
Fitzpatrick and his wife have four children, the oldest of whom is in seventh grade. He begins his duties at Connor Middle School Monday, Oct. 27. Fitzpatrick was present at Monday evening's meeting and expressed enthusiasm for his new position. (See more information about Fitzpatrick on Page 1 in today's Dispatch.
Regarding other business, Grand Island High School Principal Dan Quartley recognized the efforts of three teachers in administering quick aid to a middle school student who collapsed in full cardiac arrest on the district's athletic field Sept. 20. Quartley praised high school physical education teacher Dean Santorio, athletic trainer Jeff Green and middle school physical education teacher Carley Antonelli and also, the actions of administrators and transportation department for keeping a clear path for emergency vehicles and personnel. He also noted that the addition of an updated radio repeater on school property facilitated smooth and clear communication.
In her report to the board, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Lawrence updated trustees on the research that she and School Resource Officer Christopher Pyc, who works part-time in the district, have been doing regarding the history of SROs across the state. Lawrence and Pyc are advocating for an increased presence and for funding of an SRO to circulate full-time through all Grand Island school buildings. Lawrence told trustees that several years ago, 62 schools across the state had SROs. She tabled the topic until next month's school board meeting pending more research.
Trustee Matt Green reported on the findings of the board's Facebook committee. Green said that members agreed that the district Facebook page was "not a real benefit to us (the board)," and recommended discontinuing it. Trustees agreed and expressed support for the district website as a better communication tool along with the rollout of text messages to parents for dissemination of emergency information.
In other news, PTA Council President Lisa Fabiano praised the Grand Island Board of Education and Lawrence for their hard work and consistent communication on behalf of students and parents. Fabiano plans a thank-you reception for Monday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 in the Professional Development Suite prior to the regular monthly board meeting.