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Final preparations for new school year underway in Rome

Cara Dolan Berry
Staff writer
Posted 9/2/22

“Final preparation for school year is happening,” said Superintendent of Rome City School District Peter C. Blake in his report to members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting on …

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Final preparations for new school year underway in Rome


“Final preparation for school year is happening,” said Superintendent of Rome City School District Peter C. Blake in his report to members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting on Monday.

Blake said he and the nine members of the board would visit the district’s nine school buildings by Wednesday. Faculty and staff returned to work on Thursday with the first day of school for students is Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Staffing ramps up

Geoffrey Morton, Director of People Operations for the district, shared that reports of faculty and staff vacancies all over the State of New York “jumped across his email all weekend,” while the tone of his report to the members during the agenda’s Work Study session was upbeat regarding the status of staffing in Rome.

“It makes me proud to share the efforts of the principals in the buildings,” said Morton.

The Board unanimously approved a host of staffing resolutions, including over 90 appointments across faculty, staff, administrators, club and athletic advisors and coaches.

Board Clerk and Chair of the People Operations Committee, Elena Cardwell Reddick methodically plowed through the reading and resolving of 18 action items on the original agenda, plus the addition of one consent agenda and seven regular agenda items, for a total of 26 People Operations motions seeking to appoint, transfer, adjust hours, pay and titles for RCSD faculty, staff and administration.

The motions – all unanimously approved — included the appointment of a new Assistant Principal, Sarah Trunfio, at Ganesvoort Elementary School, and to – with regret – approve the retirement of Mark Cassese, a long-time district Custodial Worker.

Said member, John Nash, upon the unanimous approval, “thank you for your service.”

Teacher appointments include:

Jessica Lohr, elementary teacher, $48,289, Denti/Ridge Mills (one year);

Francine Iglesias, reading, $57,090, Denti;

Julia Ritsema, elementary teacher, $56,290, Joy;

Tanya Wilson, elementary teacher, $57,090, Clough;

Alyssa Clayton, elementary teacher, $50,289, Clough;

Natasha Powless, special education, $50,289, Denti;

Katrina Batey, special education, $56,090, Gansevoort;

Dorothy Ervin, special education, $59,029, RFA;

The board also approved the following club advisors:

Mary Beth Whitcombe, Strough Yearbook, $2,100;

Paulina White, Strough World Language, $1,000;

Stacey Finney, Strough Co-Advisor GSA, $700;

Jennifer Schaffauer, Strough Co-Advisor GSA, $700;

Elizabeth Ott, Strough Co-Advisor Honor Society, $1,400;

Chelsea Monahan, Strough Co-Advisor Honor Society, $1,400;

Jessica Sbiroli, Strough Co-Advisor PBIS Bookstore, $1,400;

Michele Barbato, Strough Co-Advisor PBIS Bookstore, $1,400;

Mary Beth Whitcombe, Strough Co-Advisor Ski Club, $900;

Vanessa Vaccaro, Strough Co-Advisor Ski Club, $900;

Michele Barbato, Strough Co-Advisor Student Council, $2,000;

Susan Albrecht, Strough Co-Advisor Student Council, $2,000;

Albert Bangs, RFA Co-Advisor Production Crew, $2,000; and RFA Advisor Vex Robotics, $2,800;

Amanda Benoit, RFA Co-Advisor Art, $700;

Susan Colmey, RFA Co-Advisor Art, $700;

Leanna Guerrieri, RFA Advisor Select Choir, $1,500, RFA Advisor Musical-Vocal Director, $2,100, and RFA Advisor Musical-Accompanist, $1,000;

Jacob Meiss, RFA Advisor Rhapsody, $1,500; RFA Advisor Musical-Choreographer, $2,100; RFA Advisor Musical-Pit Conductor, $1,000; RFA Advisor Musical-Director, $2,800;

Jedediah Musch, RFA Advisor Engineering, $1,500;

Erica Oshier, RFA Advisor Chamber Orchestra, $1,500;

Dellouise Pray, RFA Co-Advisor Production Crew, $2,000;

Nikiya Pomponi, RFA Advisor Biliteracy, $2,100;

Kaila Garramone, RFA Co-Advisor Musical, $1,100;

Kerri Winkler, RFA Co-Advisor Musical, $1,100;

Nicholas Johnson, RFA Advisor Musical-Stage Manager, $1,000;

Kristen Meiss, RFA Advisor Musical Producer, $1,000;

Liska Savage, RFA Advisor Musical-Props, $1,000;

Jamey Swistak, RFA Co-Advisor Musical-Set Builder, $700;

Melissa Swistak, RFA Co-Advisor Musical-Set Builder, $700;

Gail Tucker, RFA Advisor Musical-Costumes, $1,000;

Megan Spado, RFA Advisor Stem, $2,100;

Anne Gannon, Strough Advisor Pep Band, $2,800; and Strough Advisor Stage Manager, $1,500;

Tracie Cook, Strough Advisor Chamber Orchestra, $1,500;

Amanda Knamm, Strough Advisor Musical-Director, $2,800; and Strough Advisor Musical-Choreographer $2,100;

Cooper Klares, Strough Advisor Musical-Asst. Director, $1,500;

Susan Mills, Strough Advisor Musical-Stage Manager, $1,000, and Strough Advisor Musical-Costumes, $1,000;

William Wilson, Strough Advisor Musical-Set Builder, $1,000;

Aaron Decker, RFA Advisor Marching Band-Pit, $4,195;

Stephen Russell, RFA Advisor Marching Band Director, $4,301;

In addition, the board approved the following adjusted salaries for the following fall sports season coaches:

Charles Dercola, Varsity Football, $7,601;

Alfred Bevilacqua, Modified Football, $7,634;

Bryce Baldwin, Assistant Varsity Football, $7,938;

Lawrence Bevliacqua, Modified Football, $7,334;

Chad Reese, Varsity Boys Soccer, $7,638;

Tyler Stevenson, Varsity Assistant Soccer, $7,034;

Kelly Reese, Assistant Field Hockey, $7,634;

Michelle Browne, Varsity Girls Swim, $7,938;

James Ray, Assistant Girls Swim, $7,634;

Salvatore Carollo, Modified Girls Swim, $6,921;

Melissa Downs, Varsity Girls Soccer, $7,638;

Diane Stevenson, Girls Varsity Assistant Soccer, $6,434;

Evan Howard, Girls Modified Soccer, $7,221;

Kevin Perrone, Varsity Gymnastics, $7,638;

Kimberly Luczak, Varsity Cheerleading, $7,221;

Educational Programs

The board took up three resolutions related to State Education Department requirements that the Rome City School District put Comprehensive Education Plans in place for four district elementary schools performing below “Good Standing” standards, Bellamy, Denti, Ganesvoort and John Joy Elementary Schools.

When a district has at least one school performing below “In Good Standing” metrics, where Rome has four, the district itself is considered a “Target District” by the SED and so a District Comprehensive Improvement Plan must be submitted to and approved by the SED.

Finally, the members were asked to approved the 2022-23 school year Professional Learning Plan, focusing on faculty and staff development. All three action items were unanimously approved by members present.

Blake offered that the most prevalent problem at the schools requiring action plans was chronic absenteeism and warned that this factor would weigh more heavily per the new metrics put in place by the SED. Improving that absenteeism is “how to maybe get off the list for 23-24,” said Blake, who implored the district community to continue to work to address the issue.


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