School board appoints East Ramapo administrator as new director of physical education, health and athletics


The board of education unanimously approved Tuesday the appointment of Joe Toombs III as the new director of physical education, health and athletics, hiring him away from the same post in the East Ramapo Central School District.

With 20 years experience in education, Toombs worked as a physical education teacher in Mamaroneck before the East Ramapo post. He holds a Master of Science in educational leadership from Fordham University, a Bachelor of Science in K-12 physical education from SUNY Brockport and a master’s in health education K-12 from CUNY Lehman. He joins the Pelham district on July 1.

“We are very excited for Joe to start with us,” said Dr. Steven Garcia, executive director for human resources and leadership.

Toombs replaces Christian Hodges, who resigned effective March 10.

The board voted in favor of tenure recommendations for seven teachers in the district: Rosemarie Cipollone, Paola Gogliormella, Heather Beiner, Michelle Pearlroth, Andrew Dolgon, Elizabeth Heilakka and Mary Brennan.

Proposals for overseas enrichment programs for the high school Italian and French classes were okayed by the school board, meaning the trips will resume for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Two field trips would occur next February, with students visiting Italy and France.

“I am so blessed and fortunate to be in a school district that supports field trips,” said French teacher Ariadne Livaditis. “I am really excited for the whole opportunity. Being able to see France through my students eyes is going to be so rewarding, and I can’t wait.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Susan Quintin, a mother of two, expressed concerns about the growing number of students at Colonial Elementary School.

“I wanted to use this opportunity to ask the board to start considering this impending population surge impacting Colonial and seriously considering how we are using 314 Pelhamdale Ave. that we as a community purchased in 2019,” said Quintin. “We should really be looking at how we repurpose that land to extend the Colonial School footprint for our children, not for our administration staff.”

In response, Board President Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane said, “We are paying close attention to class sizes and monitoring them. We did discuss even at the upcoming strategic plan process thinking about some of these class size issues because it does impact not just one particular class, but it affects the whole facilities, budget and curriculum.”

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ said, “We are monitoring enrollments on a weekly basis for the kids who are coming in during the coming year.”

After a public vote, the school district purchased 314 Pelhamdale Ave., which is next to Colonial, for $1.1 million to provide offices for administrators, outdoor space for Colonial and to allow for possible expansion by that elementary school.

The next board meeting will take place on June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the middle school library.