Teachers and administrators, as well as employees from every department in the Marcellus Central School District, gathered Sept. 2 at C.S. Driver Middle School for the 2015-16 school year's official Opening Day.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel insisted on the all-hands-on-deck approach and welcomed the multi-faceted group with a pep rally of sorts. The day's festivities included a live performance by the blues band, Electric Mud, featuring Marcellus High School seniors Neil Minet and Cecil Nelson; a tongue-in-cheek parody by TV's Key & Peele; and some serious talk about education.
The crowd whooped, clapped and bobbed their heads along with the band, which received an enthusiastic standing ovation. "You can't have an opening day without young people," Dr. Pastel said, before quickly adding, "Not that you're not all young!"
Principals John Durkee and Janet O'Mara then introduced the newest members of their respective high school and middle school faculties. Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services Trish McCarron handed each newcomer a red rose in welcome. New to Marcellus this year are: Larry Allen (interim facilities director); Katherine Cook (K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coordinator); John Gizzi (acting K-12 humanities coordinator); Nathan Caza (full-time visuals arts teacher at the high school); Donna de Monte (part-time visual arts teacher at the high school); Adam Collister (part-time health teacher at Driver Middle School); and Kimberley Rossi (full-time DMS music teacher).
(New teachers for 2015-16 are pictured at right. They are, from left, Adam Collister, Kimberly Rossi, Nathan Caza and Donna de Monte).
Board of Education President Ryan Riefler thanked Dr. Pastel for reinvigorating opening day with new energy and encouraged those in attendance to continue their already excellent work on behalf of the community's children.
Dr. Pastel said there is nothing the staff can't accomplish for the children of Marcellus, as long as they support one another and embrace what she called the district's "non-negotiables":
Focus on student learning.
Assure our collective best for every child.
Structure learning using current, research-based best practices.
"I can't think of a profession that's more valuable than supporting the future," she said. "I look forward to learning from each and every one of you as we go on this journey together this year."