The Bedford Central School District Board of Education officially began the 2011-12 school year by picking up where it left off.
On Thursday morning, incumbents Eric Karle and Mark Chernis, who were each re-elected in May for additional three-year terms, were each sworn in at the start of the meeting. Superintendent Jere Hochman, who received a contract extension, was also sworn in. The board leadership remains the same, as Susan Elion Wollin was voted in again as president, with Chernis picked again to be vice president.
Once the board was settled, they took reorganization votes on topics ranging from board members’ committee assignments, to administrators taking on secondary roles, to school lunch prices.
Notable Items Include:
Gembka Appointed Interim Pound Ridge Principal
Unable to immediately get a suitable permanent replacement for former Pound Ridge Elementary School Principal Peter Politi, the school board voted to appoint Timothy Gembka to fill the role on an interim basis for the next year.
Gembka, who is retired, previously served as principal at Beginning with Children, a Brooklyn-based charter school. Before that, he served as an elementary school principal in Ossining.
Gembka said he is “really excited and enthusiastic about bringing my skill set and my knowledge” to the district.
The appointment came after an unsuccessful permanent principal search during the spring, in which more than 200 applicants were involved.
“I just didn’t find the right match through that process,” Hochman said in an interview.
Morrow, Shady, Appointed to Audit Committee
The board voted unanimously to appoint Erin Morrow, Bedford Hills, to a two-year term on the district’s Audit Committee, until June 30, 2013. Morrow’s background includes work at public accounting firm Grant Thornton, with risk and compliance experience.
“She’s as perfect as it gets for this job,” said Chernis.
Current committee member Amal Shady was reappointed to a one-year term, until June 30, 2012.
Teacher Evaluations, Collaborative Input, Discussed
In Hochman’s report to the board, he talked about how administrators are working behind the scenes to prepare for the new APPR mandate evaluation system for teachers and principals, which he called “consuming as it was billed to be.”
Andrew Patrick, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, noted an ongoing “constructional coaching” program among a cohort of teachers, ranging from K-12, while working with each other to improve their instruction.
Hochman Lays Groundwork for School Year District Goals
In a fashion similar to what members of the public have seen with his budget timelines, Hochman laid out a detailed presentation of what the district’s goals and objectives should be for 2011-12. The presentation, complete with elaborate and detailed examples and categories, included a description of organizational goals (those for the district, schools, departments) and personal goals (for the school board, teachers and staff). Considered organizational goals range from looking at a capital plan, to a tiered teaching model, to state of the district reports. Personal goals include working in the APPR, meeting both state and district teaching standards (for faculty), and board evaluation for the superintendent.
Hochman also noted that the district’s various committees have come up with a list of 30 possible policy change items for future consideration. They range from changing school start times, to the capital plan, to building a sense of community across the district’s elementary schools. The items on the list are not final, however, and an update will be made to the board in the fall.