By Alice Gerard
The New York Council of Administrators of Special Education Summer Institute recognized Cheryl Cardone as the New York State Special Education Administrator of the Year, Grand Island Central School District Superintendent Brian Graham announced at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
Cardone, assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services, thanked the “administrative team, the community board of education, the teachers, and all the staff for their support over the past 14 years. Thank you for giving me the best career that I could ever want. It was also special to have my mom and dad there. I am very honored.”
In other news:
•Charlotte Sidway Elementary School was awarded the National PTA School of Excellence for 2021-23. According to Michelle Edmonds, PTA president from 2020-22, “It really is our honor to have the opportunity to be able to drive programs at Sidway that support engagement at home, as well as at the school for all our students. We know that all that combined effort leads to accelerated student achievement. And by us working together to have tools for families, we can create a love for learning in pre-K, kindergarten, first grade; it helps our students grow into excited lifelong learners. Thank you for recognizing this achievement for our school and for our district.”
The new PTA president at Sidway is Allison Dukat.
Principal Michael Antonelli said that, in the application process, the school focused on such areas as welcoming all families into the school community, supporting students’ success, inclusiveness, and being impactful. “We followed a roadmap to excellence that’s provided by the PTSA National. It tells you what you should be doing throughout the course of the year, and reporting back with your progress and implementing your plan at the beginning of the year.”
Events Antonelli said the school highlighted included “Meet the Teacher” before the first day of school, and a “Meet the Principal Day” outside under tents. He noted Viking values were reintroduced at Sidway. “We introduced Sid the Viking, who’s a great little guy, who’s helping the kids do the right thing. We fostered a school community and a classroom community. Ask anyone at Sidway who we are, and they will yell back at you, ‘Vikings.’
“Mr. Dougherty has been let loose with his paintbrush throughout the school. He is painting Sid doing things the Sid way. So, you’ll see Sid doing things nice and helpful. We also have a painting in our front entryway, as we are all Vikings, featuring a number of different Vikings.
“As the year progressed, we were able to get classroom volunteers back into the classrooms, to PTA meetings, field trips back to Eco Island and to farms in Western New York with parent volunteers, art show, author visits, leadership fundraisers, and culminating fun run. Family participation was overwhelming at all these events.
“A huge congratulations to our PTA to making sure that families feel welcomed at Sidway.”
•New staff members were introduced, including Megan McAfee, who will serve as a long-term substitute teacher in kindergarten at Sidway Elementary School; Jackie Carpenter, who has been hired as a part-time art teacher at Grand Island High School; Katherine Chadwick, who will be in charge of community education; and Hillary Kretz-Harvey, who will serve as interim principal at Grand Island High School.