School board honors 15 retirees in last meeting of 2019-20 school year


Pelham Memorial High School

The Board of Education honored 15 retirees in the district during their final meeting for the fiscal year on Tuesday.

The list of retiring faculty and staff included Custodian Phil Chopak, Nurse Michelle Rivera, Data Analyst Svetlana Zhadanova, teachers Nancy Baird, Laura Connors, Laurie Cusick, Mary Ellen Garcia, Julie Liebersohn, Maureen Morrissey, Pat Satalich and Janet Williamson, School Counselor Carla Matus, Teaching Assistant Patricia Rondina and Principals Jeannine Clark of PMHS and Susan Gilbert of Siwanoy. 

Each honoree was introduced by one of their colleagues and many of the retirees were able to be present at the virtual meeting.

Principal Clark will have a plaque installed in her name in the high school auditorium, “a place where she spent countless days and nights celebrating, honoring her students and all of the many, many well-deserved accomplishments,” commented Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ.

In addition to the retirement ceremony, Julia Chung, assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services, announced that two high school counselors were recognized by the New York State Association for College Admission and Counseling: Luis Barcelo and Gena Archer. Barcelo received the 2020 distinguished service award “for his exceptional service to the profession” and Archer was featured in the member’s spotlight section “for her unwavering advocacy for her students.”

Chung also said that Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed for extended school services for students with disabilities to occur in school buildings, and these services will begin on July 6 for Pelham students who qualify and have chosen to participate.

Dr. Steven Garcia, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel, shared that optional additional education materials will be provided for the next six weeks to students, access of which will be found on the individual school website home pages.

Board President Jessica DeDomenico thanked the Pelham community for supporting the 2020-21 budget which was passed at the last board meeting. “As a community and as a school district, we face uncertain times and an diminished economic climate that didn’t seem fathomable just three months ago. But as we look forward to next school year, we feel extremely fortunate to have your support as we seek to continue offering rich and robust opportunities for our students and help us all return to some sense of normalcy,” said DeDomenico in her opening remarks.

The board does not anticipate meeting again until the start of the 2020-21 school year.