Friday, Jul 12th

Hahn, Dugan and Dembitzer Sworn In, District Retains Consultants to Provide Training on Bullying, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

drewsusiejimAndrew Patrick, Suzie Hahn and James DuganWhile most folks here in Scarsdale were easing into their summer schedules and gearing up for the Fourth of July, the Board of Education got right down to business with their first BOE meeting of the 2024-2025 school year. Before announcing new hires, new consulting partnerships, and approving a long list of action items, the Board held its annual Organizational Meeting in which they swore in the newly elected board members and then elected new officers for the upcoming school year.

First to take the podium was returning board member, James Dugan. Mr. Dugan was sworn in by Dr. Patrick after being re-elected to serve a second term. Later in the Organizational Meeting, Dugan was also elected to be this year’s new BOE Vice President. Dugan’s fellow board member, Amber Yusef nominated him for the position saying that Dugan has proven to be a steadfast supporter of our district and brings a powerful perspective to the Board table.

Next to be sworn in for her first term as a BOE member, was former PTC President and consummate district volunteer, Leah Dembitzer. Joined by family members for the special occasion, Dembitzer said that she is excited to serve our schools and to work collaboratively with each of the board members toward our district goals. Later during the business meeting, Dembitzer asked thoughtful questions and offered reflective comments wasting no time proving she is going to be an exceptional addition to the BOE.

Last, but certainly not least, former BOE Vice President, Suzie Hahn, was elected as this year’s president. Hahn was nominated by outgoing president Ron Schulhof who said that Hahn works tirelessly to achieve goals on behalf of our students and schools and will positively move our district forward. In her first meeting as president, Hahn exuded the kindness and grace with which she will lead the board this year.

Business Meeting:

DuganJim Dugan was sworn in for a second term and will serve as Board Vice PresidentPerhaps one of the most noteworthy announcements of the business meeting came from Superintendent Dr. Drew Patrick who described a new partnership with McGrath Training Solutions While Patrick described that this new partnership is coming at an opportune time for a number of reasons (including updated state laws), seeking out the help of McGrath also proves that as Superintendent, Patrick is listening to parent feedback and trying to respond with resolute actions. Though the District already has policies and procedures in place to address issues like bullying, harassment, and sexual misconduct, work with McGrath will hopefully bolster these policies and guide the district in improving their responses if such unfortunate behaviors should arise. Specifically the District will work with McGrath on five key components: “Staff awareness and response training, student training, an administrator intake and investigation course, parent training and resources, and an instructor certification course.”

Along with outlining the benefits of working with McGrath, such as their knowledge of federal and state laws and the flexibility in their deliverance of training, Patrick highlighted that the work with McGrath will be covered by a federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the US Department of Justice.leahsworninLeah Dembitzer was sworn in to the Board of Education

Before congratulating the graduating class of 2024 and acknowledging the rising 6th and 9th grade classes, Patrick asked the Board to observe a moment of silence in observance of the passing of SHS student Lucien Oades. Patrick echoed the sentiments he shared via email earlier in the week:

“It is with deep sadness that I am writing to our community today to once again share terrible news. We learned earlier today that Lucien Oades, a rising senior at Scarsdale High School, passed away following a medical incident. Our thoughts, prayers, and love are with Lucien's parents and sibling; his extended family; his teachers; his friends, their families, and the Scarsdale High School community. We also extend our love, care and concern for those grieving with and for Lucien's brother Sebastian.”

During his cabinet update on instruction and curriculum, Dr. Edgar McIntosh described that many of our teachers are engaging in summer learning and taking part in Scarsdale Teachers Institute courses such as “Responsive Classroom” training. McIntosh went on to detail that educators are also engaging in “program improvement” work which “provides educators the opportunity to collaborate, review, align, enrich, and integrate their curriculum.” McIntosh further explained that it is important to be responsive in the adaptation of curriculum and to make sure that changes are “being responsive to student’s needs and the evolving landscape of technology and research.”

In addition, McIntosh detailed the importance of teachers exploring the impact of AI and being up to speed with all the latest research and tools. This was a central theme of the recent “Future Forward Symposium '' organized by our own William Yang, in which school districts from around the area came together to share their latest thinking and research around technology and innovation.

Later in the meeting, it was announced that the BOE would be appointing a Board Liaison to our district’s technology department. Since the use of technology in our schools and at home is a top concern for many parents, this new liaisonship should be welcomed news for the community.

specialedAmy Cermele is the new Assistant Director of Special EducationIn other big news, Meghan Troy, announced that, “Amy Cermele has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Assistant Director of Special Education, with a four-year probationary period commencing on July 1, 2024, and ending on June 30, 2028. Dr. Cermele earned her Ed. D. in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher University, an M.S. in Building Leadership from the College of St.Rose, an M.S. in Special Education, and a B.A. in Adolescent Education/History from Pace University. Amy holds permanent certification in School District Leader, Social Studies, and Students with Disabilities in Grades 7-12. She is currently employed as a Special Education CSE Chairperson with the Scarsdale School District.”

Troy also announced the appointments of fourteen new employees which include:

Brian Bernarducci has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Elementary Education.
Lauren Bookin. Ms. Bookin will be assigned to general special elementary education at Quaker Ridge Elementary School.

Kayla Glaser has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Mathematics. Ms. Glaser will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School.

Cynthia Gorney has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Music.

Olga Jubinville has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Elementary Education.

Michael Mammola has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Health. Mr. Mammola will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School, filling the position vacated by the resignation of Brooke Busi.

Beau Morimando has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of General Special Education, Mr. Morimando will be assigned to Scarsdale High School, filling the position vacated by the retirement of Joseph DeCrescenzo.

Kara Oliveri has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of General Special Education. Ms. Oliveri will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School, filling the position vacated by the retirement of Yurry Buckler.

Jenna Riefenhauser has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of General Special Education. Ms. Riefenhauser will be assigned to Greenacres Elementary School, filling the position vacated by the resignation of Sahar Miandoabi.

John Speedling has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Elementary Education.

Jamie Thomas has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Library Media Specialist.

Jennifer Campo is recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement French Teacher. Ms. Campo will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School and is replacing Elizaveta Dukalsaya.

Nicole DeAngelis is recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement Math Teacher. Ms. DeAngelis will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School and is replacing Cynthia Parrott.

Matthew Peters is recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement Social Studies Teacher. Mr. Peters will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School and is replacing Marci Rothman.

You can find more detailed information about each of the new employees by reading their bios here

Before the Business Meeting the Board held a Public Hearing on our Code of Conduct. It was explained that,

“Each year the Code of Conduct must be re-adopted by the Board of Education. A committee of parents, students, faculty, administration, and Board members met to discuss and review the Code. The Committee did not suggest any changes to the current Code and there were no required changes due to legislative or regulatory changes.”

The current Code of Conduct can be found here:

While there were no changes made to this year’s Code of Conduct, Mr. Eric Rauschenbach explained that review of the Code of Conduct did spark discussions regarding the use of AI as a means to cheat and how our current Code of Conduct can cover such behavior incidents.

During the Business Meeting there was also an update about the SHS Auditorium (Andrew Lennon announced that the bid process will take place later this month), a brief Treasurer’s Report, an overview of seven new proposed STI courses, the announcement of a new Physics textbook, and more. To learn more about each of these items and to see the meeting in its entirety, please click here.