Board of Education recognized retiring staff members

STAFF HONORED BY BOARD OF EDUCATION UPON RETIREMENT

These retirees were honored by the Board of Education this evening (June 12). These are the comments that were ready by Board of Education members.

Dave Bucciferro

Allison Atchley, Music Teacher (Senior High School)

Mrs. Atchley started her career as an elementary band teacher back in 1977 and joined the Scotia-Glenville faculty in 1988. She has worked in Glendaal, Glen Worden and at the MS, as well as the HS.

Her longevity as a Band Teacher in Scotia-Glenville only begins to tell the story of how she has become a respected pillar of the Fine Arts Program in our school and throughout the community. She has been a part of SG Friends of Music for many years and was its president for a decade. She founded the Scotia Glenville Community Band in 2004 and has been a long-standing member of the Schenectady County Music Association.

Of course, these community commitments are all in addition to her devotion to the students and their musical education. Scotia-Glenville’s proud tradition in band during the last several decades stems directly from Mrs. Atchley’s leadership of the concert band, the symphonic band, the jazz band, the brass ensemble. She has led these groups in many settings including the Memorial Day Parade, at home football games, and during Spring Musicals plus awards and commencement ceremonies. She organizes and leads the Tartan Turkey Talent Show and leads the student body in the holiday sing-a-long and offers her talents as an accompanist to elementary school concerts and individual performances. She advises the famous SGHS Student Pep Band. Her support of students through auditions, Area All state, Suburban Council, NYSSMA and other endeavors has been consistently present. Above all, she is a teacher who is known for her high expectations, generosity, and warmth toward all students. Her 38 years of consistent effort with music students is extraordinary. She looks forward to enjoying time with friends and her family.

Congratulations, Mrs. Atchley, on your retirement! 

Tom Beauchamp

Deborah Croghan, Elementary Teacher (Glendaal Elementary School)

Debie Croghan has spent 30 years helping children learn to read.  She was a remedial reading teacher in Liberty, NY for 2 years.  We were lucky enough to have her at Glendaal for the next 29 years!  Debie has enjoyed working with many families, teachers and principals during her years as a cardinal.  She has touched the lives of many!!
In her initial years, her home away from home was in a “closet type space”.  She eventually graduated to a full size classroom.   Her classroom is known for its meticulous organization with many labeled bins.  The walls are always covered with anchor charts for all learning levels.

Debie served on the ELA committee.  She was always faithful about ensuring the children continued to grow as readers during the summer months.  She organized summer tutoring and provided children with summer reading materials.  Debie was always part of the PST and later IST committee.  Often Deb was the leader of this committee keeping everyone on their toes.

Nobody’s birthday is ever forgotten thanks to Debie.  She houses the birthday decorations for both staff and students.  Each month she takes care of Glendaal’s birthday tree.  She also adds decorations to staff member’s door on their special day.  We could always count on Debie to run a water station at Camp Cardinal.  Children never walked away dry.  This is one of Deb’s favorite memories of Glendaal.  Another favorite memory includes participating in the staff act of the Talent Show.  Deb was always willing to sing, dance, swim or do whatever it took to entertain the students.

Deb’s fondest memory is of the wonderful friends that are her second family.  However, she has much to look forward to during her retirement.   On June 30, Grandma Deb will welcome her fifth grandchild!!   She enjoys spending time with her daughter, Michele and family!!  Debie will also have more time to spend with her son Michael and her two dogs.

Debie is looking forward to camping during retirement. No more tents and outhouses for her. Debie and her husband Mike are considering buying a travel trailer and hopefully visiting many National Parks. Debie will have time to enjoy coffee with friends and doing some substituting. (However little does she know that “some” subbing doesn’t exist.)  Debie is looking forward to teaching without the prep and planning. She will actually be able to leave by 3:30.  If you know Debie, you know she spent hours preparing her materials so that her students were always engaged and excited to learn.

Albeit the students and teachers will greatly miss Debie — the saying is “once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal.” Debie knows she will always be welcomed back to the nest!!

Congratulations on your retirement, Debie!

Colleen Benedetto
Neal Cummings, Science Teacher (Middle School)

Neal is the quintessential educator. He is demanding but fair, exudes a love of science and learning, is always positive and enthusiastic, brings excitement to his classroom and places the welfare of his students above all else.

There are countless examples of creative, engaging lessons that Neal has developed and implemented. These range from 2 minute mini-labs in which students experimented with inertia to multi period in-depth studies.
Outside of the classroom, Mr. Cummings has taken on a clear leadership role. He has for many years functioned as the main contact person for science budget issues and has helped encourage and support other staff as we have been given new challenges. For example, he was instrumental in our effort to create a blended grade 5-8 science program based on the current science standards, has taken on multiple student teachers, embraced the new APPR program, and has played a central role in the development of guidelines for teaching students English language skills in the science classroom.

Mr. Cummings always seems to have time for his students — regardless of whether he is on a lunch break or having a “planning” period. After school, his room is also full of students receiving extra support. This, of course, is when he is not serving students as our middle school Science Bowl team coach. In addition, Neal has a core belief that middle school age children need to learn how to be organized and in essence how to become students. To that end, he has coordinated an effort to purchase, disseminate and organize the use of student agendas for the entire middle school.

Neal Cummings is “that teacher” when it comes to a tough, demanding, no-nonsense approach to teaching. His painfully bad puns are legendary, and although his current students may feel that he is tough, when those same students are in high school and think back on who helped them grow, Mr. Cummings is at the top of the list.

Congratulations, Neal, on your upcoming retirement!

Pam Carbone

Lynne Fuchs, Reading Teacher (Sacandaga Elementary School)

Lynne Fuchs began her teaching career as an elementary teacher at Mohawk School in 1977. She stayed at Mohawk School until it closed in 1981. She then moved to Sacandaga School and has been there ever since. Her longevity at Sacandaga School means she has been the keeper of the Sacandaga dinosaur for the past 5 years.

This is quite the honor!

As a teacher, Lynne has contributed to many committees, including the Social Studies Committee, Language Arts committee and the Safety committee. Lynne has a long history of helping to develop reading teachers. Lynne mentored new teachers before being a “mentor” was a State mandate.  She has paid it forward by sponsoring student teachers and reading interns.  She supports all teachers and takes the time to build lasting positive relationships with all those she works with.

Lynne has also participated and been the star of many Dragon Hoopla Basketball games.

Sacandaga has also been lucky to have Lynne contribute as a parent.  Lynne has been the PTA Secretary, has chaired the Saturday Morning Enrichment Program and the  Preschool Program for incoming Kindergarten students. One of our fondest memories is Lynne taking on the role of the Pocket Lady at the fun fair. You never knew what prize you might find!  As a homeroom parent, Lynne helped with parties by making baked goods and creating favors. She also was a favorite chaperone for field trips because of her ability to handle situations with grace and kindness.

We have been fortunate to have Lynne Fuchs as part of our school community! We wish her all the best in retirement.

Congratulations, Lynne!

Dan Feinberg

Susan Holub-McCann, Reading Teacher (Lincoln Elementary School)

Sue McCann has been teaching in Scotia-Glenville for 15 years. She spent her first 10 years at the Middle School teaching reading.  She then moved to Lincoln Elementary where she taught reading for five years. During her time at Lincoln, she helped organize various reading initiatives – including: literacy lock-in, Battle of the Books Summer Reading program and Book Buddies. Sue has a passion for reading and through these programs she has shared her passion with teachers, students and families.

Sue has touched countless students and given them strategies they will take beyond Scotia-Glenville. These strategies will help make them lifelong learners. Sue’s commitment to students is evidenced by her willingness to go the extra mile for students. Whether it be coming in early, staying late or finding the perfect book — Sue was always willing to take on the task.

All her children attended Scotia-Glenville. She has been an active member of the community supporting her students outside of the classroom as well.

In retirement, Sue has been spending time taking care of her grandson and is getting ready to see her youngest off to college this fall.

Congratulations, Sue, on your retirement. And, thank you for your commitment to Scotia-Glenville’s students and families! Enjoy your retirement!

Gary Normington

Karen Krichbaum, Social Worker (Sacandaga Elementary School)

Karen came to work for the District as a part-time social worker in 1989. Her strong ability to support the emotional and social growth of students led to a full-time position at Sacandaga Elementary by 1993.
On a daily basis, Karen is seen greeting students as they arrive at school and teaching classroom groups about “getting along with others”, believing in yourself, and “learning to stay focused”. At lunch time, Karen gathers a small group of “elementary friends” for a “lunch bunch group”, so that students can practice social problem solving skills and friendship skills.

Along with the scheduled activities of the day, Karen will also be seen helping students and their teachers and parents during times of unexpected upset. A short break with Mrs. Kirchbaum and most students are back to work in the classroom with no more tears!

With Karen’s knowledge of community services, she has been able to guide parents so they can find appropriate supportive services for students outside of school. Karen’s practice is known for its innovation. Karen implemented the Social Thinking Curriculum at Sacandaga, which benefits all students, but particularly those that struggle with maintaining flexibility of thought and behavior. Over the last year, Karen has helped introduce teachers and students to the Calm Classroom Curriculum. With an increase in the number of students experiencing uncomfortable levels of anxiety about school and the world, Karen has been the leader at Sacandaga, and among her District social work colleagues, in teaching teachers and students about the calming effect of “mindfulness activities”, including mindful breathing.

Karen’s contributions to the Sacandaga learning community are many and will continue to benefit students well after she retires in June.

Congratulations Karen on your retirement and thank you for all you have done for our students and families!

Bill Pytlovany

Debra Mancini, Elementary Teacher (Glen-Worden Elementary School)

Tonight, we would like to recognize Mrs. Debra Mancini for her commitment, dedication and passion for educating the hundreds of students who have passed through her classroom door at Glen-Worden Elementary School. Mrs. Mancini began her teaching career back in 1975, working in preschool programs until 1990 when she accepted a position at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School. Mrs. Mancini taught first and sixth grades over her five years at Mt. Carmel. She then accepted a teaching position at Craig Elementary School in Niskayuna from 1995 – 1999. It was at this point when Scotia-Glenville was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Mancini accept a teaching position at Glen-Worden School where she has educated third graders for the past 18 years.

Over the past 18 years, Mrs. Mancini has developed a very positive reputation with her colleagues, administrators and the parents of Glen-Worden. This reputation came easily to Mrs. Mancini due to her exceptional interpersonal skills, her supportiveness of all students and colleagues, her continuous advocacy for students, her sense of humor and most of all, her leadership. Mrs. Mancini was a leader in so many ways, from being an active member of several pivotal committees over the years, to continuously questioning what is best for children. Anyone who knows Mrs. Mancini, knows she takes this profession very seriously and she truly cherishes her role in helping to guide and educate boys and girls to becoming successful men and women both academically and socially.

On behalf of the Board of Education, and all who have had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Mancini, we say THANK YOU; Thank you, Deb, for your dedication to the field of education for the past 34 years. It is now time for you to dedicate your time and energy to yourself, your devoted husband, loving children and beautiful grandchild.

Congratulations on your retirement, Deb! Glen-Worden and the Scotia-Glenville community will miss you greatly!

Dave Bucciferro

Cheryl Miller, Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher (Senior High School/Middle School)

Mrs. Miller came to Scotia in 1986 and has taught what was at that time Home Economics (now Family and Consumer Science) for 31 years. During the course of her career, she has taught 20 different courses within the department and has worked in both the high school and the middle school – sometimes both places during the same year as a traveling teacher.

She started the first chapter of Future Homemakers of America Club at SGHS which would eventually become FCCLA back in 1988. As she worked with this club, she sponsored three Scotia FCCLA State Officers and many members have competed in STAR Events at the State Level of the organization. Mrs. Miller is a 30 year member of HETA (the professional organization of Home Economics teachers) and she has served as the area coordinators. She has worked for SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Plattsburg and Cornell University as a cooperating teacher for several student teachers contributing back to the profession through this service.

Mrs. Miller has witnessed great change in both the department of Family and Consumer Sciences and also the profession of teaching over the course of her 31 year career. She has been a Scotia-Glenville community member throughout her entire career and looks forward to being a full-time mother to her sons in the days ahead.

Congratulations on your retirement, Cheryl – we wish you well in the coming years!

Tom Beauchamp

Kathleen Powers, Elementary Teacher (Lincoln Elementary School)

Kathy Powers is retiring after 34 years of teaching. She started her career at Scotia-Glenville as a special education teacher and has also taught at the kindergarten and fourth grade level before teaching third grade at Lincoln Elementary.

Mrs. Powers is a hardworking, dedicated professional that goes above and beyond to meet the needs of her students and the Lincoln community.

Kathy has organized or participated in many different events at Lincoln, including: The Book Buddies Program, The school-wide recycling program, Dress Down Committee, PTA meetings and evening events, Sunshine Committee, Literacy Lock-In, and Penning Penguins Writing Club

After 34 years, Mrs. Powers is still one of the most passionate educators we have She comes to work early and leaves late, but most importantly she is always present in the moment for her students and their families.
Mrs. Powers will be greatly missed by her students, parents, colleagues and friends, but we wish her the best of luck in retirement.

Congratulations, Kathy!

Colleen Benedetto

Patricia Roeser, Special Education Teacher (Glendaal Elementary School)

Trish came to work for Scotia-Glenville Schools in 1997 as a part-time elementary special education teacher. Her talent for teaching was quickly noted by administrators and by 1999, she was a full-time special education teacher.

Trish has had a rich and varied teaching experience at Glendaal Elementary. Trish assisted with the development of the District’s first self-contained “Skills Classes”, which allowed many children to return to District classes from BOCES. Faced with students with very different learning styles in the Skills Class, Trish put her creativity to work and developed specially designed instruction that was tailored to the individual needs of the students in her class. Long before the research supported such an approach, Trish knew that her students would learn better if they had meaningful hands-on, discovery type activities. She also understood how important it was for student success to form a partnership with parents. So throughout the years, it was common to be invited to Trish’s classroom to see students presenting their projects to parents and teachers. When studying Native American culture, Trish had the students build an actual Native American Long House. This type of learning experience truly brought learning to life!

As the District embraced a more inclusionary, co-teaching approach — so did Trish. She took the initiative to develop relationships with classroom teachers who were excited to have students with special needs in their classrooms. Working together in math and ELA, Trish and her teaching colleagues adapted classroom instructional methods so that students with disabilities could successfully learn alongside their non-disabled peers.

Trish’s various contributions to the Glendaal community and the District; and the positive influence she has had on so many students over the years cannot be properly described in a short piece such as this. Trish, we thank you for your dedication to students, families and the District. We appreciate and will always remember the many ways you contributed to the development of the teaching profession and the development of our school community.

Congratulations on your retirement, Trish!

Pam Carbone

Marian Boorn, Teaching Assistant (Glen-Worden Elementary School)

Marian joined the Scotia-Glenville learning community in 1996 as an aide for elementary special education students. In September of 1998, Marian accepted a position as a teaching assistant at Glen-Worden Elementary.
Marian can be proud of all the assistance she has provided to students who needed a little extra support to learn. Marian has spent countless hours listening to students read, reading to students, teaching them how to decode words, and coaching and encouraging them as they transitioned from non-readers to more fluent readers. Marian should really be an accountant in her retirement as she was so good at helping students learn their math facts and figuring out word problems.

Marian was so effective working with students because she had this uncanny knack of getting students to do what they did not want to do because of fear of failing. Her success can be attributed to the balance she intuitively understood between having very high expectations for students while encouraging and supporting them emotionally.

The students of Glen-Worden and the staff of the Scotia-Glenville School District will miss Marian. We all wish her the very best in a well- earned retirement.

Congratulations, Marian!

Dan Feinberg

Marianne Ille, Teaching Assistant (Senior High School)

Marianne Ille began her work as a Teaching Assistant with Scotia Glenville in 2002 after many years in the private sector.

Her efficiency, grace and energy were immediately recognized and brought to bear each day that she worked. She loves to be around students and she has served our students well in countless settings. She has taught, tutored, supervised, organized and advised. In short, whatever needed to be done – Marianne found an efficient way to make it happen.

Students respect her because they sense her passion. For many years, she has had the difficult task of organizing coverage for Teachers, TAs, and Aides throughout the high school building. In an era of substitute shortages, this is often a challenging task – and it’s the first one to hit her when she arrives at the building in the morning. Marianne worked mini-miracles almost every day with the schedule and with others. When she couldn’t find a person to fit a task, she jumped in and did it herself. There are many folks around the high school in recent days who have asked, “what will we do without Mrs. Ille next year?”

She will enjoy a bit more time off – especially cruising the seas with her husband – but we know she will be visiting frequently – probably filling one of those much-needed sub jobs because she always stays busy.

Congratulations on your retirement, Mrs. Ille!

Gary Normington

Cynthia Steadwell, Teaching Assistant (Senior High School)

Cindy came to the District in 1999 as an Executive I Secretary at the High School. In 2005, Cindy accepted the position of Teaching Assistant/Job Coach at the High School. With a background in business, human resources, and her many personal connections in the Scotia-Glenville community, Cindy practically single-handedly developed work experiences for our students with disabilities. Cindy established internships and work placements for students and accompanied them on-the-job to provide them with guidance and instruction on how to behave and work within a job setting.

By carefully paring student strengths with the needs of the work places, Cindy gained the trust of local businesses like CVS, The Scotia Traveling Museum, Gabriel’s Market, The Baptist Retirement Center, and Price Chopper. When Cindy began her work as a job coach, she found placements and supported about 10 or so students every school year. Over the years, this increased to about 17 students with the addition of another job coach which Cindy trained and directed. Then in 2015, Cindy and a few other staff helped to secure a grant from the State Education Department to expand the work-based learning opportunities for students with disabilities. This grant allowed Cindy to spend more time developing job placements and guiding other job coaches. Working collaboratively with the newly hired CDOS Coordinator, Lesa Farrell, Cindy and Lesa have expanded work-based opportunities to over 70 students per year. Through hosting a quarterly forum with local businesses, Cindy has increased the community’s interest in providing work experiences for Scotia-Glenville students. In some cases these placements have turned into full-time employment after graduation. When word got out how successful the program was, calls came in from many other districts wanting to visit and learn how to create a similar program. Being generous with her time Cindy (and Lesa) found the time to help coach these staff from other districts sharing information, tips, and resources.

As Cindy retires, she truly leaves a wonderful legacy and a network of relationships with local businesses that will serve students far into the future. Although it is cliche to say, “we couldn’t have done this without you” — in this case, it is very apropos! We wouldn’t have this program without Cindy’s endless enthusiasm, knowledge, passion, determination and commitment to students.

Thank you, Cindy! Enjoy your retirement and give those grandkids a hug from all of us! Congratulations!

Bill Pytlovany

Joanne Reynolds, Registered Professional Nurse – School (Glen-Worden Elementary School)

After 23 years as the school nurse at Glen-Worden Elementary, Joanne Reynolds will be spending more time with her family and grandchildren. Since starting at Glen-Worden in 1994, Joanne has been helping students and parents prevent health barriers from keeping students from the classroom every day. While tending to the day-to-day health needs of students, Joanne made the time to keep abreast of the changes occurring in the medical field in general and the ever changing field of school nursing in particular. Joanne’s contribution to the District’s health services is HUGE! Her in-depth knowledge of current Department of Health and Department of Education regulations has helped to keep our students healthy as well as keeping the District in compliance with State regulations.

Joanne is a leader in her field. She has served as the District’s nursing coordinator ensuring that all District nurses are knowledgeable about and implement current best practice procedures. To support best practice, Joanne has invited experts in various topics, such as diabetes care, to the District to meet with the nurses. She is responsible for the development of a district wide nursing procedures manual that provides guidance to District nurses and substitute nurses throughout the school year. Not only is Joanne a leader within the District — she has provided strong leadership for the New York State Association of School Nurses serving as the President of the Board of Directors for many years. Oh — and Joanne did all this with a smile and kind word for everyone!

To say we will miss Joanne is quite the understatement. Good thing Joanne has agreed to be on our nurse substitute list! We all thank her for the wonderful care she has provided to students and the principled leadership she provided to the District. We wish her well as she begins her retirement.

Congratulations, Joanne!

Dave Bucciferro

Rugena Sitzer, Executive Secretary I (Senior High School)

Rugena has served Scotia-Glenville Schools for at least 30 years. She started her career as middle school guidance secretary and then settled in for many years as secretary to the Academic Heads and Department Heads.

Not only has she been supporting the English, math, science and social studies staff — but also every department in the middle and high school for nearly all of that time.  She is one of the kindest and hardest working people you will ever meet, and a faithful friend to everyone in the building.

Rugena is a combination of pure kindness and consideration mixed with almost ruthless efficiency and determination.  One of the toughest parts of her job is that she handles the ordering for everyone, and when something goes wrong and she has to call a vendor — I almost feel sorry for the company rep!

In addition, Rugena handles a myriad of small and large tasks which require a high degree of skill and sensitivity — doing so with a level of trust, competence and kindness which will be hard to replace. Rugena is always there to offer her support to everyone — especially when things become difficult.

Congratulations on your retirement, Rugena. You will be missed much more than you could ever imagine!

Tom Beauchamp

Richard Matthews, Senior Custodian (Middle School)

For 40 years, Rick has dedicated himself to providing an environment for our students and staff that is safe and conducive to learning. For anyone that has worked in a school building, you were most likely given some good advice as to whom to make friends with, or “get on their good side.” Undoubtedly it was the senior custodian. While we all pride ourselves on supporting our students.., truth be told, none of us would be able to support anyone in a school setting without people as dedicated as Rick Matthews. Being not only extremely responsive but also pro-active, Rick has been invaluable to our Middle School in providing us with the tools we need to be effective in our roles. He has had a greater impact than he could possibly fathom.

In retirement, Rick plans on enjoying more of the things that bring a smile to his face, hunting, fishing, camping, and trips to Maine with his wife Maureen and his family

So, as Rick enters into the bliss of retirement — we say Thank You for your service and congratulations on a career well done!

Colleen Benedetto

Alba Naya Cazeneuve, Cleaner (Middle School) (pronounced Naja)

Naya was a proud and dedicated member of the Scotia-Glenville Central School District for 17 years — all of which were spent at our Middle School. In addition to being a valued member of our Scotia-Glenville family, Naya was and is an accomplished piano player and enjoys dancing.

Over the years, Naya enjoyed taking trips to Florida and other destinations with her mother and family. In retirement, she plans on sharing more of those moments with her family, getting serious about her gardening, and spending time with her cat, Annika.

Congratulations Naya! We wish you the best in your future!

Pam Carbone

Nancy Chan, School Monitor (Lincoln Elementary School)

Nancy Chan is retiring after 14 years to the Scotia-Glenville School District. She worked as a monitor at Glen-Worden since 2003, before coming to Lincoln Elementary three years ago.

Nancy is a hardworking and dedicated employee that could always be counted on. She is patient and kind toward all of her students and is well respected by her colleagues.

Nancy will be missed, and we wish her the best in retirement.

Congratulations, Nancy!

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