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North Collins Town Board adds position, to aid in transition

NORTH COLLINS — The North Collins School Board approved the creation of a new administrative position to lighten the load on new Interim Superintendent Joan Thomas, and pave the way toward retaining a new district head.

Gregory Whitman was tapped to serve per diem in the interim, as business administrator; purchasing agent; director of health, physical education and athletics; special education director and Title IX/Section 504/ADA compliance officer/liaison for homeless children.

All of these titles had been folded into the previous superintendent’s position for several years, as well as more recently, when administrative positions were cut, in cost-saving moves.

School Board President Shannon Locking said, “The appointment is only for the interim. We would want the new superintendent to be able to pick their own staff.” The board has set a July target, to name a permanent district chief.

The Dec. 17 meeting gave Thomas her first chance to sit at a board gathering, following a week’s delay, due to weather.

“I’ve never closed a district for three straight days due to weather,” she said, prompting Board Member Martin Niefergold to joke, “I’m sure you’ve become very popular with the students already, because of it.”

Thomas reported that the notification system used to alert parents to the school closures worked very well.

She said that she has met with all department heads and has begun the budget building process. In addition, she has been meeting with faculty members and observing classroom activities.

Elementary Principal John Cataldo said that the annual senior citizen luncheon on Dec. 5 was attended by 76 community members. While sixth grade students served lunch, seniors read cards made by kids from all grades.

Junior-Senior High School Principal Annie Metcalf noted that the “Race to the Top” funding is in its final year; 75 percent of it will continue to be used for teacher and administration support. A balance of $10,304 will be used to purchase electronic tablets and laptop computers, for both school buildings.

In other board news:

– The unpaid appointments of Jaden Keough, as assistant for boys varsity and junior varsity basketball, and Shannon McMullen, as volunteer for the cheerleading program, were approved.

– The board approved the ski club’s trip to Killington, Vt. on March 21 – 23, with adult chaperones Robert English, Kimberly English, Ginny Kowal, Andre Kowal, Cindy Renaldo and Cody Feltz also attending.

– The senior class’s trip to Cedar Point on June 13 was approved.

Along with Timothy Flanagan and Robyn Turner, one Board of Cooperative Educational Services staff member will join, as an adult chaperone. The board approved releasing $925 from the general fund, as the district’s share of this trip’s expense.

The school board will next meet at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 in the high school library.

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