And Colucci Makes Three
Western Putnam County has three school districts—Garrison, Haldane, and Putnam Valley — and following an announcement made by Superintendent Gloria Colucci at Wednesday night’s Garrison School Board meeting, we now know that each of the districts is currently in the market for a new superintendent.
At Wednesday’s Garrison reorganizational meeting, exclusively covered by the PCN&R, “routine” was the order of the evening, at least at first. New District Clerk Joanne DiBlasi was sworn in, and she then dutifully swore in newcomer trustee Derek DuBois and incumbent Charlotte Snow Rowe, followed by Superintendent Gloria Colucci and Business Manager Susan Huetter. Raymond O’Rourke was re-elected President of the board, and Diana Swinburne Vice President.
What followed was a lengthy list of annual appointments, designations, and authorizations, including the re-designation of the PCN&R as one of two official newspapers for the district. Examples of appointments and designations included Dr. Peter Gergely as the School District Physician, Richard Timmons as the Asbestos Designee, Chemical Hygiene Officer and School Pesticide Representative; and Christine Foertsch (delegate), Theresa Orlandi (alternate) and O’Rourke (legislative liaison) as representatives to the NY State School Board Association.
When the reorganization meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m., a regular meeting was called to order. And that’s when things got interesting.
During her Superintendent’s Remarks, Colucci announced her retirement, effective December 31, 2013. The veteran administrator, who has spent nine years at Garrison, said she was grateful to be closing out her 45-year career as an educator in this district, and pledged “to do all that I can to ensure a smooth transition.”
President O’Rourke pronounced Colucci “irreplaceable,” while Swinburne asked, “Can we deny it?”
But O’Rourke immediately reassured the board, the audience of one, and video viewers that the search process has begun with Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES Superintendent James Langlois, and there will be “ample opportunities for additional inputs from the community…I am very happy for you; sad for us.”
School Principal Stephanie Impellittiere, in her remarks, noted that the “faculty has not [yet] been notified,” but on their behalf she thanked Colucci “for her strength and her integrity.” On a more personal note, she said of her close relationship with Colucci, “we almost complete each other’s sentences at this point.”
Individual trustees later expressed their appreciation to Colucci, citing her integrity, her professionalism, and her through knowledge of K-through-8 education. Christine Foertsch told Colucci, “You’ve taught me so much…I feel suddenly a rush to come in and [spend time] with you before you go.” Rowe said she viewed Colucci as a “role model,” as well as “a wonderful advisor and friend.” Orlandi said that Colucci’s priorities “have always been what is best for Garrison students,” and DuBois noted his regret that he wouldn’t have a chance to work more with the superintendent. James Cannon wished Colucci “God bless and God speed.”
O’Rourke perhaps summed up the group’s feelings best when he commented, “We’re all going to savor the next six months or so.”
For her part, Colucci admitted to having mixed feelings about leaving the school, but told the PCN&R she looked forward to spending more time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
The rest of the regular meeting reflected long lists of approvals similar to those considered during the reorganization meeting. Among the action items that the board approved were the 2013-14 board meeting calendar, an agreement to retrofit all of the lighting fixtures in the school through a Central Hudson program at a net no-cost to the district, and security measures—a new card-read access system for doors and additional motion-activated outdoor lighting. O’Rourke was careful to remind everyone that all of the approved items had been included in the current year’s budget, which was approved in May.
During the public comment period, a PCN&R representative thanked the board for its continued designation of the 147-year-old newspaper as an official Garrison School paper.