Board praises teachers as they depart

GERMANTOWN—The Board of Education and the two school principals gave warm thanks last week to teachers who are retiring at the end of June.

In the elementary school, four teachers are retiring: Irene Clum and Dorothy Griffin (both second grade teachers), Kathleen Race (fourth grade) and Andrea Brenkach, AIS (Academic Intervention Services) math teacher.

“The total years of teaching service of these four ladies is 123,” said Susan Brown, elementary school principal. “They’ve touched the lives of 2,460 students. They nurtured student teachers and mentored new teachers. They learned how to use new technology. They coached high school sports and welcomed guests from China. Thank you!”

In the high school, Bruce Bartolotta, social studies, and Barbara Rubin, Spanish, are retiring.

Karol Harlow, high school principal, said that the shoes of the two would be “impossible to fill.” Ms. Rubin, she said, “believes that every student can and will learn Spanish and love it–and they do. From 2006 to 2009, 100% of her students passed the Spanish Regents test. Then it dropped to 98%.” Today, she added, the state does not offer a Regents test in Spanish.

Further, said Ms. Harlow, Ms. Rubin’s classroom was a “haven for students of migrant families.” And, she “makes sure that we have an international flavor in our school. She welcomed our Chinese teachers and has open arms for the diversity that we don’t automatically have.”

Mr. Bartolotta, said Ms. Harlow, “has taught everything here,” in addition to his specialty, history—“cooking, government, economics, psychology. He was always eager and willing.” Mr. Bartolotta was adviser to the Student Council and president of the Germantown Teachers Association.

Board member Brittany DuFresne, a Germantown graduate, said the occasion was bittersweet, since she considered the teachers her mentors and was sorry her own children would not know them. Ron Moore, also a Germantown graduate, said, “Everyone has one teacher that stands out. Bruce is mine.”

Interim superintendent Patrick Gabriel read his appreciation to “Senora Rubin” in Spanish.

In other business, the board:

—Accepted with thanks a check of $11,600 from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, to be used in the following programs: Life Imitates Art, $2,200; Reading Boost, $2,400; Positive Behavior Intervention Support, $2,500; Poetry & Prose Writing Across Curriculum, $4,000; Painting Class for GAP, $500

—Heard a presentation from the district’s architect, David Sammel of Sammel Architecture in Somers. With the Facilities Committee he has drawn up a list of 16 priority projects, including the renovation of the chemistry room and the replacement of the science wing roof. Two renovation projects are in process, in a maintenance garage and in the kindergarten washrooms.

Major capital projects that cost too much to be covered in a district’s annual budget must be planned over years, said Mr. Sammel. In general, the total time is 30 to 37 months from start to finish. So, for example, a project started now would not be occupied until September 2016

—Granted tenure, with thanks for their dedication, to teaching assistants Claire O’Connell and Carole Seeley

—Thanked high school chemistry teacher Joann Latorre, who was granted tenure last month

—Thanked Lynn Clum for her years of service to the district as a board of education member. Ms. Clum is now a board member of Questar III BOCES. “I’ll be a spokesperson for Germantown, as well as for Questar III,” she promised

—Confirmed the hiring of two tenure-track elementary school teachers, Sarah Kalimeras and Megan Phelan

—Abolished two teaching positions, as of June 30: one in the elementary school and a social studies position in the high school

—Abolished a part-time school nurse position.

All board members attended, along with about 30 residents. The board’s next, reorganization meeting is Wednesday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m.

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