Faculty and 10-month staff return to campus for final 2023-24 school year preparations

Today, Sept. 1, the district welcomed back faculty and 10-month staff in preparation for the first day of school on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Everyone, including 12-month staff, met at the Middle School for gathering hosted by Superintendent Brian Monahan before various meetings took place and faculty/staff returned to their respective buildings for to continue with work on final preparations for Wednesday.

As part of the meeting, students representing the Elementary School, Intermediate School and Otisville Elementary led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. A duo representing the High School Choir sang the National Anthem.

“Those who teach, and those who support this important role —no matter what that role is — we are all in this together,” Superintendent Monahan said during his remarks. “We all have an important role in shaping our students.  It’s hard work. It’s fulfilling work. Sometimes, it’s simply exhausting work.  But we all chose to work in the education field because we want to positively impact the lives of those who are the future of this school community, this county, this state, this nation.   To everyone in this room, no matter what your role is, please take a few moments today and reflect on the tremendously rewarding, meaningful and fulfilling work that awaits us. The field of education is a complex and complicated one, and I will guarantee you it will not get any easier. But you all have the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of many young people.”

He also reminded them: “Please remember, our students and parents look to us not only as trusted advisors, but positive influencers to their children about the importance of knowledge. This community is privileged to have you educate their children. There are no finer, inspiring and talented people anywhere.”

Staff beginning their 25th year of service to the district were honored. They are:

  • Lisa Anglemyer, Otisville teacher
  • Jean Breheny,  Otisville speech teacher
  • Jonathan Clemmons, Middle School technology teacher
  • Deborah Gallant, Elementary School principal
  • Jodilynn Jones, Buildings & Grounds administrative assistant
  • Amy Kowal, Middle School social studies teacher
  • Lawrence Scarzfava, High School English teacher
  • Michele Semco, Middle School counselor
  • Michael Sirico, Intermediate School teacher
  • Colleen Smith, Otisville AIS teacher
  • Jill Stramiello, Intermediate School Teacher

Additionally, Middle School technology teacher Jonathan Clemmons, who is a finalist for the State Education Department’s 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, shared with faculty and staff the personal statement he presented to the SED’s Teacher of the Year Selection Committee.

“Today’s teaching world is so different than five years ago, and certainly different than when I began teaching 25 years ago,” he told them. “It’s not just the changing nature of society; it’s the changing requirements of the job. While we remind our students about the importance of perseverance and resilience, we need to remind ourselves of that, too.  No job is perfect and, frankly, teaching is not for the meek. But, the teaching profession has the ability to greatly influence the future.”

He added: “These ideas of being academic change agents… positive influencers…caring and concerned teachers to students…some may feel these are simple and even archaic messages to want to impart to the greater teaching community. In fact, it’s just the opposite.  This messaging is needed now more than ever. regardless of what you teach. I’m reminded of one of Ronald Reagan’s radio addresses where he noted that children yearn to learn and their capacity to do so is one of life’s wonders.”

Mr. Clemmons, who received a standing ovation and sustained applause, later shared he was not selected as Teacher of the Year, but would find out this month during a special ceremony in Albany who that person is.

“It’s really true, each of us here at Minisink Valley has been given the gift of being able to positively shape the future with our talents,” Mr. Clemmons added, applauding his colleagues and district staff afterward.   “A new school year is beginning in just a few days. Let’s make it a great one.”

See more photos on the district’s Facebook page.