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BC welcomes faculty, staff to new school year

Filed in Archive, District by on September 3, 2019

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Bethlehem Central School District faculty and staff officially began the 2019-20 school year Tuesday as they put the finishing touches on classrooms, hallways, cafeterias and buses in preparation for the first day of school for students K-12 on Thursday, September 5.

It has become a tradition for Staff Opening Day to begin with 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 reaching important milestones in their careers at Bethlehem and the introductions of new teachers and support staff (see more below).

In her opening remarks, Board of Education president Holly Dellenbaugh thanked faculty and staff for all they do every day for the students of the Bethlehem Central School District. Also representing the Board of Education at Opening Day were board vice president Meredith Moriarty, and board members Christine Beck, Willow Baer and Wendy Samson.

Before welcoming new staff members to the district, Superintendent Jody Monroe gave a special shout-out to the custodial staff in each building as well as the team from Operations & Maintenance who have been working tirelessly to get the buildings and grounds ready for the return of students. There were many logistical challenges for the O & M staff to overcome this summer as they continue to work with contractors and construction crews who are busy with the many projects underway districtwide as part of the $32 million capital project approved in 2016.

“You will see there is an incredible amount of work taking place in and around all of our buildings,” said Monroe, as she led a round of applause for the O & M staff. “We are building a better BC. And this doesn’t happen by magic. There are men and women in this room that have been moving heaven and earth to get ready for the new school year.”

For the more than 800 faculty and staff assembled in the high school’s lower gym, Superintendent Monroe focused on making empathy a central theme for the school year.

“In strong school communities, students and adults have empathy for everyone – including those who are different in background, beliefs, or in other ways,” said Monroe. “When educators show that they care about everyone in the school community and expect students to do the same, it can help students open their eyes and ears to others, including those who are sometimes treated as invisible.”

Monroe highlighted the efforts of one of the district’s English as New Language teachers, Liz Kennedy, who at the end of the 2018-19 school year made an effort to better connect the school community with some of her students at the high school.

“Liz invited all of us who work at the high school to read a journal published by her class,” said Superintendent Monroe, whose office is located at BCHS. “In it were deeply personal recollections of home… and candid descriptions of being new to BC. While it might be hard for many of us here to understand what it feels like to be uprooted as a teenager, the emotions on display are familiar. They are ones we all experience at one time or another: uncertainty, loneliness, loss, and hope…sometimes against all odds.

“She shared their hard work, written and rewritten with great care over several months, so we would have a better understanding of her students’ struggles and triumphs so we can connect with them and help other students do the same,” said Monroe.

The entries from the journal English as a New Life, shared with the permission of the students, can be read here.

As part of the Opening Day morning event, each building and department took part in a basketball free-throw contest. Hamagrael Elementary School prevailed with the school’s principal Dave Ksanznak hitting 14 shots from the foul line in just one minute. It was an impressive win for Hamagrael and Mr. K but fell short of the Guinness World Record of 52.

District and building administrators assumed grill duties at a midday barbeque held for faculty and staff at the middle school. School personnel will continue with preparations for the start of school on Thursday for all students in grades K-12.


Employee Milestones

Celebrating 35 years of service…

  • Timothy Stark – Bus Driver – Transportation

Celebrating 30 years of service…

  • Teresita Barcia, Spanish Teacher – BCHS
  • Colleen M. Burns, Elementary Teacher – Hamagrael
  • Kaaren Caron, Art Teacher – BCHS
  • Robert Court, Manager, Building & Grounds – O & M
  • Kristin M. Crawley, Elementary Teacher – Eagle
  • Janice M. Crookes, Hall Monitor – BCHS
  • Charles W. Emery, School Bus Driver – Transportation
  • Patrick J. McCormick, School Bus Driver – Transportation
  • Penny L. Palagyi, Counselor – District
  • George Petruska, Head Custodian – BCHS
  • Robin J. Reed, Elementary Teacher – Elsmere
  • Patricia A. Paradis, Elementary Teacher – Slingerlands
  • David M. Vara, Social Studies Teacher – BCHS
  • Marie H. Weisheit, Custodial Worker – District
  • Glenn A. Yelich, Psychologist – BCHS

Celebrating 25 years of service…

  • Kathryn Betzhold, Nurse – Slingerlands
  • Kandace M. Bradley, Aide to Student with Disabilities – BCMS
  • Kristen M. Burns, Social Studies Teacher – BCMS
  • Catherine Cusato, Speech Language Pathologist – BCHS
  • Elizabeth A. Edgar, English Teacher – BCHS
  • Maureen A. Frank, Secretary – Glenmont
  • Paul E. O’Reilly, Science Teacher – BCHS
  • Mary T. Rodgers, Elementary Teacher – Slingerlands
  • David E. Rounds, Social Studies Teacher – BCHS
  • Peter T. Ruggiero, Art Teacher – BCMS
  • Lynn Sherich, Technology Department – BCHS

Welcome New Employees

Support Staff

  • Arthur Alverson, Hall Monitor, BCHS
  • Marcellus Arrington, Custodial Worker, BCMS
  • Janet Berry, Bus Attendant
  • Carol Buck, School Monitor (Noon Aide), Glenmont
  • Neil Cary, Building Maintenance Mechanic, District
  • Guy Coolen, Bus Driver
  • Christine Delsignore, Cook Manager, BCMS
  • Hector Flores-Hernandez, Custodial Worker, BCHS
  • August Jones, Building Maintenance Helper, O&M
  • Ryan Keller, Assistive Technology Specialist, SESS
  • Hongyuan “Annie” Li, Senior Account Clerk, Business Office
  • Martine Long, Bus Driver
  • Veronica Omoregie, Bus Attendant
  • Rebecca Poole, Bus Attendant
  • Jacob Rarick, Custodial Worker, BCMS
  • Neal Regels, Bus Driver
  • Kayla Salisbury, School Monitor, BCHS
  • Judy Verges, Bus Attendant
  • Jenna Welch, Food Service Helper, Slingerlands

Instructional Staff

  • Samantha Atchinson, Math Teacher – BCHS
  • Luis Avilés, Supervisor of World Languages/ENL – District
  • Sarah Baker, Music Teacher – Slingerlands, Elsmere, MS
  • Ashley Bucklin, Elementary Teacher – Glenmont
  • Lisa Hoerz, Social Worker – BCMS
  • Sheila Jones, School Nurse – Glenmont
  • Sienna LeDuc, Social Studies Teacher – BCHS
  • Moira Mascelli, School Psychologist – BCHS, Elsmere
  • Margaret Maset, ELA Teacher – BCMS/BCHS
  • Lindsey Measeck, Kindergarten Teacher – Eagle
  • Amanda Patsey, Math Teacher – BCMS
  • Joanna Perrino, Third Grade Teacher – Glenmont
  • Amy Pierce, Teacher of the Visually Impaired – District
  • Kerrigan Roth, Fifth Grade Teacher – Slingerlands
  • Julian Santos, School Psychologist – Glenmont
  • Eve Trombley, Fifth Grade Teacher – Eagle
  • Miriam Vargas, World Language Teacher – BCMS
  • Megan Walston, Occupational Therapist – BCMS & Glenmont
  • David Wargula, Third Grade Teacher – Glenmont
  • Aerial White, Social Worker – BCHS