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Faculty and staff return for Opening Day 2018-19

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on September 4, 2018

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Bethlehem Central School District faculty and staff officially began the 2018-19 school year Tuesday as they got busy putting the finishing touches on classrooms, hallways, cafeterias and buses in preparation for the first day of school for students K-12 on Thursday, September 6.

It has become a tradition for Staff Opening Day to begin with a breakfast and opening remarks from the superintendent and the Board of Education president. Staff also receive important annual training, that includes health and safety protocol, technology updates, and more. The kickoff to the new school year also includes a districtwide barbeque, a celebration for employees celebrating important milestones in their careers at Bethlehem and the introductions of new teachers and support staff. 

In his opening remarks, Board of Education president Michael Cooper reminded all staff that everyone in a school setting has the power to change lives. Quoting Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 for her bravery in advocating for the education of women and children in underdeveloped countries, Cooper said Bethlehem bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and teachers old and new are themselves examples of how “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” 

Also representing the Board of Education at Opening Day were Vice President Holly Dellenbaugh, and board members Christine Beck, Willow Baer and Jonathan Fishbein. 

After welcoming new staff members to the district (see list below), Superintendent Jody Monroe reflected on the challenges of the 2017-18 school year that she said helped bring a greater sense of unity and teamwork to the Bethlehem school community. 

“Those who were here last year can all attest to the fact that we had our share of challenges,” said Superintendent Monroe. “We lost beloved colleagues and friends; saw others launch battles against serious illnesses; and navigated waves of uncertainty that touched our personal lives, our schools, our students and our community.

“However, through these challenges, I believe we all came together as a team, one that is closer — and stronger — than a year ago,” said Monroe.

In her comments, Superintendent Monroe also emphasized the personal connections that are so important to helping students and staff have a successful year. 

“Making these connections that can put a smile on a child’s face is what so many of our students desire and need,” said Monroe. “They simply want to know that when they come to school, someone cares enough to go the distance, and cares about who they are as a person.

“The course of a school year is not always a smooth one, as we have learned, but we are fortunate to be united in a mission that is more important than most,” said Monroe.

While delivering her message about working as a team and how teams are often like families, Monroe received a special video message from her twin sister, Amy Langworthy, a school principal in Warrensburg. In it, Langworthy (proudly three minutes older than Monroe) included sage advice for her younger sister that included “showing your staff how much you value them” along with a lighthearted warning of sorts for BC staff that “if (Monroe) suggests you cut your bangs the day before school pictures, this is not a good idea.” Langworthy’s words and sisterly advice drew laughter and applause from the new and returning staff.

The laughs continued as Superintendent Monroe hosted an abbreviated game of “Family Feud,” putting several longtime employees to the test with a game-show-themed quiz about the history of the Bethlehem Central School District in the late-1980s and 1990s. 

Those employees included 17 teachers and support staff who received framed certificates as they begin “milestone” years working for the school district. Congratulations to all of them. We thank them for their dedication and hard work!


Employee Milestones

Celebrating 35 years of service…

  • Kelly Ciavardoni – Teacher – BCHS
  • William Vrooman – Bus Driver – Transportation

Celebrating 30 years of service…

  • Sandra Banas – Teacher – BCMS
  • Mary Ann Bruno – School Nurse – District
  • Brenda Hazen – Bus Driver – Transportation
  • Kristi Malsan – Teacher – Eagle
  • Dianna Reagan – Principal – Eagle

Celebrating 25 years of service…

  • Donna Falkenhainer – School Monitor – Hamagrael
  • Paula Fishbein – Speech Language Pathologist – Slingerlands
  • Laura Forman – Art Teacher –  BCMS
  • Dawn Houck – Food Service – BCHS
  • Virginia Lawler – Teacher – Eagle
  • Tina McKay –Payroll – District
  • William Reilly – Social Studies Teacher – BCMS
  • Brian Smith – Custodian – BCHS
  • Nancy Stathopoulos – SESS Teacher – BCHS
  • Scott VanHoesen – Mechanic – Transportation

Welcome New Employees

Support Staff

  • Josephine Barbella, Food Service – Eagle
  • Michael Cassidy, Noon Aide – Glenmont
  • Lee Eck, Custodial Staff – Elsmere
  • Zahra Esmaeili Jooladi, Noon Aide – Slingerlands
  • Johna Foro, Food Service, Food Service – Hamagrael
  • Michelle Hebert, Noon Aide – BCMS
  • Jessica Lawler, Clerical Assistant – SESS
  • Jennie Mahony, Noon Aide – Slingerlands
  • Jessica Nusbaum, Food Service – Slingerlands
  • Evan O’Brien, Custodial Staff – BCMS
  • Artur Pengu, Auto Mechanic – Transportation
  • David Stewart, Noon Aide – Slingerlands
  • Mary Westphal, Noon Aide – Elsmere
  • Theodore Witting, Noon Aide – BCMS

Instructional Staff

  • Christen Averill, Teacher – Eagle
  • Patricia Bryan, Teacher – Hamagrael
  • Ekaterina Cassella, Special Education Teacher – Eagle
  • Jason Cosco, Occupational Therapist – Elsmere
  • Michael Doemel, Physical Education Teacher – Slingerlands
  • Kerri Dzekciorius, World Language Teacher – BCMS
  • Samantha Famigletti, ENL Teacher – BCMS & Elementary
  • Tracy Farrell, Business Teacher – BCHS
  • Brianna Fitzpatrick, FACS Teacher – BCMS
  • Sarah Flannery, CSE Chairperson – BCMS
  • Marisa Hock, English Teacher – BCMS
  • Alexandria Kosek, Music Teacher – Elsmere & BCMS
  • Gwendolyn Kovacik, Art Teacher – Slingerlands
  • Kelly Landers, Teacher – Eagle
  • Ian Schwan, Physical Education Teacher – BCHS
  • Brian Spina, Math Teacher – BCHS
  • Kevin Stempsey, Physical Education Teacher – Eagle
  • Jessica VanWormer, Social Worker – BCMS
  • Nicoleen Winklarek, Math Teacher – BCMS