By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Grand Island Board of Education President Lisa Pyc pointed out a familiar face at Monday's trustee meeting.
The board was happy to see Connor Middle School Principal John Fitzpatrick, who has returned to work after an extended leave of absence. Fitzpatrick thanked the district family for its support over the last six months as he faced an illness. He returned to work just before the end of the school year and received a warm welcome at the Moving Up Day ceremony.
"I just want to thank everyone for their support," Fitzpatrick told the board. "My family and I can't thank you all enough. We just really appreciate being here on Grand Island and I hope I can show my gratitude by doing a very good job."
As Fitzpatrick returns, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Graham informed the board of the departure of high school Principal Dan Quartley, who has taken a position in another school district. The school board is expected to appoint an interim principal at its Aug. 22 meeting and will begin a search for Quartley's replacement.
At the June 20 meeting, then-Superintendent Dr. Teresa Lawrence said she made an agenda item for Quartley's tenure appointment.
"That was removed from an agenda item," Lawrence said. "I would like to encourage the board to look at that recommendation again. He's a man of incredible integrity. He has increased graduation rates. He has made the building safer, and he's collaborated with students in their health and wellness. I encourage this board to accept that recommendation and to hire him justly that he deserves."
With one more meeting before school opens, the board made several appointments for teachers and extracurricular advisors.
Graham thanked teachers and administrators "for all of their hard work in this hiring process that we've been engaged in for the last 30 days."
"And we have some more work to do in the future. Their input, their participation - I'm continuously impressed with commitment and dedication of our administrators and our teachers," Graham said. He also thanked Cheryl Cardone, director of pupil personnel services, for her work in the district's search for a leader in the human resources department. Cardone has served as interim principal in the high school in the past.
The board approved Kari Nowak to a probationary appointment in health at the high school; Catherine Joynt to a long-term substitute position teaching at Sidway Elementary; Robert Hennessey, long-term substitute teaching social studies at the high school; Nikita Ventresca, long-term substitute teaching English at the high school; Katherine Mineo, long-term substitute in Reading Recovery at Sidway; Kari Campas, long-term substitute in reading at Kaegebein Elementary; Robert Stuewe, part time technology teacher at the middle school; Jeffrey Lipinczyk, probationary elementary teacher at Kaegebein; and Tabitha Loebel, part time special education and teaching assistant at Kaegebein.
Board members welcomed the new members of the district workforce. Trustee Glenn Bobeck pointed out the successes the staff has led in extracurricular activities, citing the high school yearbook, which he called the best in Western New York, and first-place finishes for technology students in the annual Tech Wars competition, for example.
"These are efforts that our staff take that are above and beyond what is expected," Bobeck said.
IF YOU GO:
The next meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, in the Professional Development Room of Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Road.
Board of Education meetings air on Time Warner Cable Channel 22 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.