South Orangetown Central School District hosted its annual Opening Day program this morning to welcome staff back for the 2020-21 school year. Staff members participated from their school buildings and department offices for the remote kickoff this morning and will spend today and tomorrow engaging in professional development, reconnecting with colleagues and building teams and setting up classrooms.
“This is a school year unlike any other, but I want to focus on what hasn’t changed,” stated Superintendent Robert Pritchard. “First, our commitment to promoting the academic growth and social emotional development to our students has not changed. We will elevate, engage and inspire every student to reach his or her highest potential…we will rise to the challenge. Second, our commitment to each other and our profession has not changed. I have great admiration for the courage, innovation, compassion and persistence that each of you bring to our schools each and every day. Our community and our country need us more than ever.”
On behalf of the Board of Education, Board President Leon Jacobs offered encouragement and echoed Pritchard in expressing appreciation for the clerical, facilities and technology staff who have worked throughout the past several months to prepare for reopening. “The Board is confident that you will collaborate with each other to smooth out the bumps along the way and we value your commitment to persevere through these challenging times,” he said.
Director of Staff Relations Joseph Lloyd, Ph.D. announced staffing updates and milestones:
- Promotions: Matt Dapolito (Custodian II at TZHS), Michele Stevens (Coordinator of School Transportation I)
- New hires: Jennifer Whittaker (Special Education Teacher), Samantha Cordone (Leave Replacement Elementary Teacher) and Lisa Murphy (School Psychologist at WOS)
- Tenure recipients: Emily Arietta, Cassie Barbera, Katelin Burns, James Donahue, Amanda Duffy, Jaimie Ehardt, Lauren Grillo, Jessica Inglis, Juliann Long, Andrew McIntosh, Courtney Malka, Lauren Maurer, Jaclyn Nandlal, Janina Smith, Kristyn Rastelli and Emily Schnapp.
Pritchard and Educational Association of South Orangetown President Bill Hughes (pictured below) partnered for closing remarks which emphasized safety, relationships and mission. “Your passion for educating our students will not be masked by a piece of cloth,” Hughes noted.
In closing, Pritchard said, “Throughout this whole process of reintroducing ourselves to this new era of schooling, our students are our primary focus. Our mission continues to put children at the center of all we do.”
Welcome new staff and congratulations to those receiving promotions and tenure! We wish our entire South Orangetown community a safe, healthy and enthusiastic start to the 2020-21 school year. Welcome back!