A new principal has been appointed at Frontier Middle School, and she brings to the district related work experience at the administrative level.
Barbara Shea was appointed as middle school principal by the Frontier Central School Board at Tuesday’s (Sept. 4) meeting, as the measure was approved by a board vote of 8-1. Shea, who will assume her new duty beginning Monday, Sept. 10, is slated to earn an annual salary of $88,000.
She arrives at Frontier having previously served as assistant principal at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Institute, which is part of the Buffalo City Schools.
She stated that the academy services grades Pre-K through 8, adding that the majority of her work there dealt with students in grades sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Shea said that she had also previously worked as a substitute teacher in the Frontier School District, describing Frontier’s innovative reputation as a major strength.
“It was always on my radar,” Shea said of the idea of working at Frontier. “I was glad to be able to apply for the (middle school principal) position. I’m looking forward to working in the district.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Shea added in reference to the recent interviews at Frontier and the planning that will go into her new position. “I’d rather be busy than not. It’s nice, but a little bittersweet to say goodbye to my old (Buffalo) district. But I’m glad to be here at Frontier now.”
Board President Janet Plarr was one of several district officials who wished Shea luck in her job, as Plarr later added partly in jest, “God bless you” in a description of the many duties that come with helping to shape students who are at the developmental age while in middle school.
The start of the school year, which officially began for district students on Wednesday, Sept. 5, brought to the meeting an outline of Frontier’s 2012-13 pupil enrollment, which Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mary Ann Costello described as “slightly down, but at about where we thought we’d be.”
Total student enrollment for 2012-13 is slated to be 5,028, compared to the 5,084 enrolled pupils at the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year. Regular tweaking and changing of enrollment numbers was said to have taken place since June, according to Costello. kindergarten through fifth grade, incorporating the elementary schools of Blasdell, Big Tree, Cloverbank and Pinehurst- compile 2,053 students, including 371 fourth graders, 358 third graders, 337 fifth graders, 321 second graders, 321 kindergarteners and 302 first graders. Additionally included are split, K-1 sections in Blasdell and Pinehurst elementaries, which total 43 pupils in those divisions. One hundred thirty-eight other pupils are listed as being enrolled under the elementary division.
In grades sixth through 12th, listed as the “secondary division,” there are 2,837 students. The middle school includes 371 pupils in sixth grade, as well as 414 in seventh gradeand 396 in grade 8. In Frontier High, there are 411 students in ninth grade, 423 in 10th grade, 421 in 11th grade and 390 in 12th grade, the latter number including 381 regular seniors as well as nine pupils who were slated to graduate in 2011-12 but are attempting to fulfill graduation requirements after returning this year.
Costello estimated that the number of students who reside in the Frontier district but attend private schools is in the range of 200.
Superintendent James Bodziak said ideal classroom sizes for grades 1 and 2 include a maximum of 23 students, to go along with a maximum number of 26 for third through fifth grades and 28 in sixth grade. Budget constraints were said to have made those numerical goals an ongoing, difficult process within the district.
Other meeting items included Bodziak stating that a significant number of teachers who had been eliminated from their positions at the end of the 2011-12 academic year as part of budget cuts have been brought back for 2012-13 to the district. A resolution of teaching appointments was approved by a board vote of 9-0, for employees Sean Morrisey, permanent, elementary education in fourth grade at Pinehurst Elementary; Jill Martinez, regular substitute, elementary education in fifth grade at Pinehurst; Faith Catarella, regular substitute, fourth grade at Cloverbank Elementary; Daniel Brawn, regular substitute, special education at Blasdell Elementary; Caitlin Durkin, regular substitute, special education at Pinehurst; Jessica Riordan, school psychologist at Cloverbank; Wendy Guba, regular substitute, elementary education in kindergarten at Big Tree Elementary; Ashley Mason, regular substitute, grade 4 at Cloverbank; and Kellene Morris, part-time foreign language at Frontier Middle.
A notable number of the employees who were re-instated within the district were said to be recalled from the Preferred Eligibility List.
The next meeting of the Frontier Central School Board will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Frontier Educational Center Board Room, located at 5120 Orchard Ave., Hamburg.