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Skaneateles school district opens new chapter with new leaders

— The Skaneateles Central School District started a new chapter Monday, July 2, with the first day of work for two new district administrators and two new board of education members. It was also the reorganizational meeting for the school board, during which policies and personnel were set in place for the 2012-13 school year.

Judy Pastel officially began her one-year tenure as interim district superintendent while the BOE searches for a permanent successor for former superintendent Phil D’Angelo, who left the district June 30. Pastel chaired the opening of the meeting before a new board president was elected for the year.

“I’m energized,” Pastel said at the end of her first full day in the district. “I know summer just started but I’m really looking forward to having everybody come back [in the fall].”

Pastel said she spent the day meeting with school board members, administrators, teachers, local union leadership and the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. She also is eager to soon meet face-to-face with members of community groups such as the Skaneateles Music Guild and the Skaneateles Education Foundation. “It’s going to be a busy two months and I want to get through that learning curve quickly,” she said.

The other new administrative face at the BOE meeting July 2 was new Waterman Elementary School Principal Gary Gerst, who also was finishing up his first official day in the district. Gerst, who graduated from Skaneateles High School and taught in the district at the beginning of his education career, received an enthusiastic welcome – and many welcome backs – at the meeting from those he already knew or previously had worked with in Skaneateles.

“It was awesome,” Gerst said of his first day at Waterman.

The board of education also welcomed and swore in two new members to its table: Susan Benjamin and Susan Greenfield Murphy, who were both elected in May. Evan Dreyfuss, who was reelected to his BOE seat in May, was also sworn in and then unanimously reelected to serve as the BOE president for the upcoming year.

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