Superintendent Dr. Alice Kendrick receives a standing ovation during her last Jamesville-DeWitt board of education meeting on Monday, Dec. 17 at the high school library. (photo by Lauren Young)
After 23 years as Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District’s superintendent, J-D alumna and former biology teacher Dr. Alice Kendrick attended her last board of education meeting on Monday, Dec. 17, before embarking on retirement — receiving an energetic applause from dozens of students and staff members minutes before the meeting and a proclamation from the county executive for her work.
Last July, Kendrick announced her retirement and that Assistant Superintendent Peter Smith would take over the position.
“Alice has had a long-standing commitment to ensuring our students graduate as well-rounded students, not only with a great education but having had the opportunity to participate in athletics, arts, academic clubs and clubs that engage them in service to the community,” said BOE Vice President Virginia Murphy.
Minutes before Kendrick walked into her last board of education meeting Monday night, she was met with dozens of students and staff members clapping her onward, congratulating her on retirement and four and a half decades of service to the district.
Larry Stroh, head of the teacher’s union, later presented Kendrick with a proclamation from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon recognizing her service in the district.
After Kendrick’s 16-year stint as a biology teacher at J-D, she left to teach at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison (OCM) BOCES for seven years. She then returned to the district and served as its assistant superintendent for three years, then as the acting superintendent for three years. She was appointed superintendent in 1997.
According to Murphy, some of the district’s accomplishments under Kendrick’s leadership includes:
Charlie Borgognoni, director of the Central New York School Boards Association, said back when he first joined the association it had 54 superintendents, and of those 54, Kendrick is one of eight superintendents still serving their districts for the past nine years.
“Your genuine dedication to all of our children in this community, particularly those who come from low-means, poverty … you and this district have always been supportive of the efforts that our association has tried to do in such things as unequitable distribution of school aid, and really trying to help those children who live in our area who don’t have the resources that a lot of our other districts have,” he said. “I’m particularly grateful to you for that.”
Dr. Jody Manning, the superintendent and CEO of BOCES since 2012, even drove from Albany to speak on behalf of Kendrick and drove back that same night, despite the strong winds and snow flurries.
Being a good listener was a piece of advice he was given before becoming a superintendent, and one that he said Kendrick still demonstrates.
“You were the role model that encouraged me to do what I needed to do for kids,” said Manning.
Former board president Mark Schulman, who resigned from the board last month after serving on it for nine years and winning reelection last May, even stopped by to express his appreciation, telling his former high school biology teacher that “she will be missed,” and that it was “a pleasure and privilege to work with Alice for the past 10 years on the school board.”
“I didn’t think I would retire before Alice, but she outlasts a lot of people, including me” he joked.
Reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican.