GLOVERSVILLE - The student body of the Gloversville Enlarged School District soon will have a voice on the Board of Education after the board created a new position for a non-voting student member Monday.
Senior Sarah Ellis was selected as the new student board member for the remainder of the year and will sit on the board for the first time at the next meeting in February.
"I am extremely honored to be able to have this amazing opportunity," Ellis said. "I think I will be able to bring a new light to the board, so that they will be able to see exactly what goes on in the high school and what I have experienced in the middle and elementary schools. I will also be able to voice the opinion of the students."
Ellis, who is co-secretary of her senior class, plans to have a future in politics by majoring in political science in college next year, she said.
High School Principal Richard DeMallie gathered all the seniors before the holiday break and told them about the opportunity to serve as student representative on the Board of Education. He asked those who were interested to submit a resume and cover letter and give a formal presentation about what they could bring to the board.
Ellis and fellow senior Zakkry DeLack were selected from four student applicants, DeMallie said. DeLack will serve as the alternate when Ellis is not available to attend board meetings.
"We are going to be working toward handing over the torch in May to a member of the junior class so that in June we can have the new student board member start and continue throughout the school year," Superintendent Michael Vanyo said. "This is an outstanding opportunity to get communication between the board and what is going on with the actual students; remember, we are here for the kids. The policies the board makes and the funding provided in the budget directly impact the students."
The student board member will be able to provide input and suggestions on behalf of the student body but will not have voting rights or be allowed in executive sessions.
"The biggest thing I am going to try to do is bring more school and city pride to Gloversville," Ellis said. "A lot of kids seem to be embarrassed to be from Gloversville, so I am going to try to get the schools decorated with pictures and facts about the school and city that will bring more pride to people that are from here."
Several members of the board were enthusiastic about the opportunity to have regular student input after the meeting Monday.
"We are looking for the insight of what we could do better from their perspective, and this will provide that," board President Peter Semione said after the meeting.
"This will give us direct input from the people we are here to service," board member Joseph Andrews said. "It is a fantastic idea and about time."
"I am thrilled to have a student board member," board member Jean LaPorta said. "Several schools have been doing this for a while, so I just hope this will allow us to see what questions students may have or things they can tell us directly that we didn't know before."
In other meeting business, several teachers and faculty have announced they will retire at the end of the year:
Anne Niles will retire after being a fourth-grade teacher at Boulevard Elementary School, providing 26 years of service.
Barbara Sartin will retire as the first-grade teacher at Meco Elementary School after 24 years of service.
Mary Lockwood will retire as a psychologist at Kingsboro Elementary School and Gloversville Middle School after nearly 14 years of service.
Levi Pascher can be reached by email at email@example.com.