Chatham board hires interim principal for middle school

CHATHAM – The school board appointed Annmarie Barkman as interim Middle School Principal at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening, June 28. Ms. Barkman will take over from Gordon Fitting, who is retiring.

Ms. Barkman said at the June 28 meeting that she will be finishing up serving as interim superintendent at Coxsackie-Athens Central School District before coming to Chatham on July 1. She said she was happy to be back working with students, especially at the secondary level. Ms. Barkman was hired for one year at the rate of $550 per day.

As board members welcomed Ms. Barkman, they also said goodbye to long-time board member Elizabeth Macfarlane. Ms. Macfarlane has served on the board for 12 years and chose not to run again this year, when her term was up. “I’m confident leaving the district in good hands,” she said of the current board and Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo.

The board also heard an update on the capital construction project happening this summer. Ms. Nuciforo said it is “important that people not be on the fields and playgrounds,” because heavy equipment will be used to replace the sports field lights. There is also parking being added at the elementary school, and playground equipment is being moved. Ms. Nuciforo stressed how unsafe the area is for people not working on these projects.

The superintendent asked the board to consider adding a third section and teaching assistants to this fall’s kindergarten class to help deal with many students coming in with special needs. She said the district can use federal grant money, noting that staff retirements that were announced after preparation of the budget will help offset the cost for the new section.

Ms. Nuciforo stressed the importance of getting services for these new students right away. She said the district dealt with a similar increase in students with special learning needs in 2007 and administrators needed to increase services in 1st grade. She said he wanted to “get out ahead of it” in the approaching school year.

The board will decide whether to add the kindergarten section at its next meeting Tuesday, July 5 at 6:30pm.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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