Johnstown board of education picks Zajicek as new president

JOHNSTOWN —Kathryn Zajicek, a retired art teacher in the Greater Johnstown School District, was appointed president of the district’s Board of Education Thursday night at Johnstown High School.

It was a night of farewells at the session, as outgoing board President Scott Miller and retiring district Superintendent Robert DeLilli attended their last meetings.

Board member Evamarie Mraz was elected board vice president.

Zajicek, of County Highway 116, Johnstown, was first elected to the volunteer school board as a write-in candidate in May 2012. Her current three-year term expires June 30, 2018.

She replaces Miller, who spent nine years on the school board. He was elected in November as the city’s councilman-at-large — a part-time paid position with city government that starts Jan. 1.

“Thank you, Scott, for guiding us and doing a tremendous job,” Mraz told Miller.

Miller responded, “Thank you for the opportunity. What we have going on in this district is amazing.”

Zajicek said recent years in the district “have been special,” noting that Miller “has a commitment to this community.”

Of Zajicek, Miller stated: “This board couldn’t be in better hands.”

The meeting started with several minutes worth of farewells to DeLilli, whose effective date of retirement is Feb. 14. He will be succeeded by Assistant Superintendent Patricia Kilburn.

“I think we made a great choice,” Miller said of Kilburn.

Miller noted DeLilli has led the Johnstown school district through the grade-level grouping changes of a few years ago, to the current capital projects. He wished the retiring superintendent “nothing but the best.”

“What you’ve done for our school district is amazing,” Miller said.

Johnstown Teachers Association President Nancy Lisicki told DeLilli it has been an “honor” to work with him.

“In a word, it’s meant respect,” she said.

Lisicki said DeLilli’s administration has been marked by open communication with teachers.

“You put people first,” the union official said.

She then showed a video produced by the teachers association that featured teachers and students from across the district”s schools saying goodbye to DeLilli and wishing him well in his retirement.

“Thank you, it’s going to take a long time for this to sink in,” DeLilli said.

He said he enjoyed the video and requested a copy.

“It’s a very thoughtful and personal gift and I appreciate that,” he said. “I had no regrets and I enjoyed every day. I will forever remember this and cherish this.”

The board in August appointed Assistant Superintendent Patricia Kilburn to replace DeLilli. Kilburn was the only candidate the city school system considered.

Kilburn will serve as deputy superintendent from Jan. 3 to Feb. 14, and then as full superintendent through Feb. 8, 2022 at a base salary of $135,000 annually to start.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By Chad Fleck

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