CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — The members of the Shenendehowa School District Board of Education recently voted to retain their leadership team of Robert Pressly as board president and Deanna Stephenson as vice president.
The vote was part of the board’s 6 p.m. July 9 organizational meeting in the Gowana Middle School library.
The election of officers followed incumbent board members Gary DiLallo, Deanna Stephenson, and Todd Gilbert taking their oaths of office to formally start new three year terms and the swearing-in of Shen Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson for another school year.
DiLallo, Stephenson, and Gilbert received the most votes from the public in a four-candidate field as part of the district budget vote in May.
Using the board’s traditional nominating process of taking nominations for each office and voting on them before seeking other nominations, Stephenson nominated Pressly for board president.
With board members Naomi Hoffman and Gusta Miller absent from the meeting, Pressly received the unanimous support of fellow board members Stephenson, DiLallo, Gilbert and Christina Rajotte.
Moments later Pressly nominated Stephenson for vice president and as with the vote for board president, Stephenson was voted into office with a 5-0 vote.
In remarks made during the board comment portion of the meeting, Pressly thanked his fellow board member for their continued support.
“As board president, I see this is an affirmation of both continuity and also a desire to transition other members into leadership roles; I definitely will take that to heart,” he said. “I think we can say we had a very strong year last year, just a lot of the outcomes we talked about throughout [the] year starting with the goals process put forward starting with a meeting like this one.
"It’s an affirmation of successively very strong years in terms of a focus on education, a focus on students, having a very strong foundation financially that allows us to have the flexibility to ensure that we were doing these things while having a strong organization not prone to layoffs or organizational drops, in terms of courses or things like that. I look forward to this year coming up to be very much the same.”
The lengthiest portion of the night’s meeting was devoted to a presentation from Robinson on the development of the district’s 2019-2020 goals.
Using computerized visuals Robinson delineated four major goal statements for the upcoming year; school classroom experiences, organizational culture and environment, personnel and professionalism and fiscal responsibility.
The goal of school and classroom experiences is to be viewed as one that is dynamic and personally relevant; predicated on the knowledge and belief that students learn best when they are mentally and psychologically available for learning, when self-direct learning is cultivated, when pedagogical practices are modernized, and when learning is contextualized.
To help accomplish this goal Robinson included three essential objectives which included a culturally responsive framework, student voice and choice, innovative and meaningful assignments and the incorporation of technology and information-rich resources.
The goal of fiscal responsibility is to be achieved by having fiscal responsibility exercised by all employees to support program needs and by providing enhancements by being cost-effective, and by leveraging financial resources and physical assets.
The three essential objectives of this goal include having resource allocations equitably distributed and leveraged to provide a high-quality school experience for students, seeing that the workplace is conducive to peak productivity, seeing that operational supports and services are effectively provided to meet the evolving needs of students and staff and seeing that budget and funding opportunity are maximized to effectively meet current and emerging program needs.
In making comments on the goal of student and classroom experiences Robinson noted that Shen can acknowledge its success in achieving certain goals but it must always continue to move forward.
“Our job,” he said while pointing to the goal of student and classroom experiences, “is not to meet the mandate, our job is to exceed the mandate all the time.”