With the school year coming to a close, Amherst School Board President Ann Marie Carosella took an opportunity to reflect on the year during Tuesday evening’s board meeting.
While the board met its goals for the year, she said, it wasn’t without difficulties, specifically when it came to hiring a new superintendent.
“People always say it’s the most important thing a school board does,” she said.
“It’s also the most time consuming.”
The board worked diligently to hire the right superintendent, Carosella said, and believes it has the right person in Anthony J. Panella, who was hired in March.
“Thank you for accomplishing your goals,” said Panella, drawing laughter from the crowd and board members.
Carosella also commended district Clerk Debbie Custodi, who put in long hours during the superintendent search.
“It was a great learning experience,” Carosella said, somewhat sarcastically.
“That’s a way you can reframe everything. It was a great learning experience.”
While Carosella will continue to serve on the board, Tuesday marked her last meeting as its president. A new president will be elected in July.
In closing, Carosella said she’s probably one of the few one-term school board presidents around who served with three different superintendents.
“It has been a great opportunity and a great honor,” she said.
Also during the meeting, several retirees were honored for years of service to the district, including head custodian Mark Moynihan, technology coordinator Doug Wolf and Mark Whyle, assistant superintendent of administrative services.
Wolf, who graduated from Amherst High School in 1974, said he saw a lot of changes during his 20 years working in the district. He also pointed out that it takes a lot of dedicated people to make the district run well.
“One of the interesting things is ... of all the people retiring, not one yet is from the classroom,” he said. “That tells you how many people it takes to make up that pyramid that makes a great school system.”
Also retiring are grounds worker Larry Arbogast, cook manager JoAnn Ackerman and teaching assistant Cheryl Stucke.