Saia appointed to the VCSD board

Albany attorney Doreen Saia, of Greenberg Traurig LLP,  is the newest member of the Voorheesville Central School District board.

VOORHEESVILLE — The school board here appointed local parent Doreen Saia to the board on Monday to fill the spot vacated by Kristine Gravino in September.

Also, the board heard a presentation by Voorheesville Elementary School Principal Thomas Reardon about the VES spirit program for students.

New school board member

Saia told the board that she is an Albany attorney with two children in Voorheesville schools. Her husband is an engineer, she said.

“We built our house on the mountain in 2000,” Saia said.

Saia, 48, fills the seat left empty by Gravino, who announced her resignation from her second four-year term shortly after winning a second term, for which she was uncontested, in May. Gravino left the board Sept. 30.

Although the school board is not required by state law to appoint another member, School Board President Timothy Blow told The Enterprise in September that some residents were interested in filling the empty seat. The board advertised the opening in the district’s newsletter, he said then.

Saia told The Enterprise that she sent the board a biography when the board posted a notice seeking a new member.

Some residents had asked her why she did not run in May, Saia said, but she “knew that Mrs. [Cynthia] Monaghan and Mrs. Gravino were doing a wonderful job.” Both Monaghan and Gravino were incumbents who were uncontested in May.

“I knew Kristine was awesome. I saw [the vacancy now] as a good opportunity to step up,” she said.

Saia’s husband, John, owns J Squared Construction Corp in Voorheesville. Their two sons are in eighth grade and fifth grade.

Saia will fill the seat through June 2015. She plans to run for a full term in May, she said.

Voorheesville spirit

Reardon told the board about his school’s program meant to instill school spirit in students. Children are placed in long-term groups of all ages, from kindergarten through fifth grade, for their entire career at VES. Part of the program uses the picture book, The Family Book, and the family theme is carried out year-round in craft activities and on hallway bulletin boards, Reardon said. The school emphasizes different forms of family, from classmates to baseball teams, he said.

The purpose of the family theme is to “infuse a sense of community” into the student body, he said. One result of the spirit program Reardon has seen is that VES has “almost no instances of student bullying,” he said.

“I was really impressed with the children’s reactions to some of the stuff that was going on,” Board member C. James Coffin, who attended a Blue Ribbon award ceremony at VES last week, told the board.

About the students singing their spirit program song, Coffin said, “The energy that was in that room was unbelievable. It was absolutely amazing. The older kids were on fire.

“There was nobody ‘not involved,’ ” Coffin continued. “That’s…an accomplishment, and they’re all into it. That speaks to something. That was fantastic.” (See related story.)

“The kids’ song brought tears to my eyes,” said Superintendent Teresa Thayer Snyder. “They were running down my cheeks like a baby. The kids were incredibly responsive.”

Other business

In other business, the school board:

— Recognized Grace Whatley for her 27 years of service to the district as first a typist, then a keyboard specialist;

— Appointed Jessica Tabakian as confidential secretary to the superintendent and as board of education clerk, effective in January. Longtime employee Dorothea Pfleiderer is retiring from the combined position in December; and

— Met in executive session to discuss a couple of issues regarding personnel, including the search for a superintendent, Blow said. The board voted to begin its Dec. 8 meeting by going into executive session at 6:30 p.m. to discuss similar items, Blow said.

More New Scotland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.