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Werner Appointed Interim Director of Special Education

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By Jennifer Weber

The Springville Griffith Institute Central School District Board of Directors met on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2016 at 7 p.m. for a workshop meeting held at 290 North Buffalo Street, Springville.

The business matter at hand discussed before the workshop portion of the meeting involved accepting the resignation of Rochelle Sarikey, Director of Special Education, effective Nov. 30, 2016 after 24 years of service to the district and the interim appointment of Kate Werner, effective Nov. 23, 2016.

During the public comment session, resident Cindy Galley spoke to the need to seek out parent involvement across the board, including parents of preschool, elementary, middle, high school and even reaching out to parents with children who have graduated from the program in the district when making the decision to appoint the next Special Education Director.

“Our parents are an invaluable resource; special education parents have a whole other host of things that they face” stated Galley. “As a mom with a special ed student, I know it’s a very emotionally charged situation, I know it can be very costly for the school district and I would just love to see our school move in the right direction and have parents really have some ownership in this.”

A motion was made to the Board of Directors recommending appointing an interim Special Education Director, Kate Werner, who is currently serving as the Assistant High School Principal. Werner came to the district working in the special education department, has been a counselor and is very interested in the position.

Superintendent Kimberly Moritz would like to explore the possibility to work with the administrative union to fill the position from within the district without having to add an additional position, “right sizing” the staffing levels as a way to use current staff by adding and shifting around responsibilities to one of the current administrators.

Board member Tyler Sullivan expressed concerns about spreading the current administrative staff too thin.

“I’ve talked extensively with James (High School Principal Bialasik) and Kate (Assistant Principal Werner); we think we could do this and do it well,” stated Moritz.“If it simply isn’t working, we will revisit the situation for the 2017-2018 school year.”

“I want to make sure that we’re using this opportunity to its fullest to improve relationships in this district and that we have someone in this position that will be an advocate for our children with special needs.” stated School Board President, Allison Duwe. “I worry sometimes, and I understand the difficulty of the job of a special ed director, it’s an administrative position and one that has to be concerned about a lot of things- budgets, etc. and trying to limit services, but I expect the person in that position to care, a lot, about the kids that need it and to fight for them.”

“The expectation that this board has the right to have is that every one of our administrators is caring and listening and communicating with families,” affirmed Moritz.

The board approved the motion to appoint Werner as Interim Director of Special Education.

Mortiz will present more information on how to move forward with filling this position permanently at the December meeting.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2016 at 7 p.m. at 290 North Buffalo Street, Springville in the School Library Media Center.

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