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Skaneateles principals transition to new roles

Gary Gerst accepts a gift on his last day as Waterman principal. Starting at the beginning of February, he took over as Skaneateles Middle School Principal.

Gary Gerst accepts a gift on his last day as Waterman principal. Starting at the beginning of February, he took over as Skaneateles Middle School Principal.

Gerst says goodbye to Waterman, hello to Middle School

Gary Gerst was excited to walk into Skaneateles Middle School as principal on Feb. 3, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to say goodbye to Waterman School on Friday. It seems it’s never easy for kids, parents, teachers or principals to say goodbye to Waterman.

In honor of Gerst, teachers sang the “Goodbye Waterman School” song at an assembly Friday afternoon, interchanging words about lessons Gerst had given as principal. Students sported bow ties like their principal, who became known for wearing a bow tie every day.

He told them it was his goal to bring back the bow tie — and on his final day as principal, they proved it could be done.

Students presented Gerst with handmade cards, letters and works of art. He told them he would read every one of them. He said that he is not saying good-bye because “I am just going up the road, and I will see you all when you come to the middle school.”

In addition, he said he will regularly be back at Waterman, where two of his three children will continue to be in school. He thanked his staff and told the students that they are lucky to have the best teachers he has ever known.

With Gerst’s move to the Middle School, State Street School Principal Stephen Widrick took over as elementary principal, tasked with overseeing both State Street and Waterman schools.

Harmon retires after more than two decades

Some students and teachers dressed up as John Harmon on Friday, Jan. 31, which was his last day as interim Middle School Principal.

It was also his last day in the Skaneateles School District, after a career spanning nearly two decades. As secondary humanities curriculum coordinator, Harmon was part of an administrative “dream team” that worked together for more than 20 years.

He didn’t jump into retirement … he waded in by going part-time one year and then by putting on a different pair of shoes completely this year to fill in as principal in the middle school.

And speaking of shoes: part of the outfit people wore on John Harmon Day involved wearing Dockers, along with button down shirts and ties. Students and teachers also donned pretend mustaches in order to look like, and honor, Harmon.

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