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New hires lauded at Fredonia

OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce Fredonia school board members held a special meeting to fill vacancies on Tuesday.

The Fredonia Board of Education was not originally scheduled to meet on Tuesday night but held a special meeting to approve three new hires to the district. The three hires, Alexandra Goff, Sara Thomas, and Christina DeGroff were all unanimously approved during the special meeting. While the new hires could have been approved at a later meeting, the hires themselves wanted to be sure of their status as soon as possible.

“Fredonia was their first choice and they wanted to be approved by the board so they could get a head start,” said Fredonia school board President Brian Aldrich. “It worked out well that we could have this meeting tonight so we could get them approved and get everything settled. We got some great candidates here.”

DeGroff was the first to get approved, and is certified in early childhood education, childhood education, and students with disabilities. She was approved for a four-year term, ending in August 2025. DeGroff has studied at both St. Bonaventure and Cortland and recently worked at the Dryden Central School District. Fredonia Superintendent Dr. Bradley Zilliox said that DeGroff made a strong impression on the selection committee.

“She impressed the committee on a number of levels,” Zilliox said. “She prides herself on differentiating the students. Christina will be a great addition to the elementary building, and we’re excited to have her on board.”

Sara Thomas was the second to be approved, and, as Aldrich and Zilliox said about all the candidates, is heavily qualified for the job. Thomas, like DeGroff, is also certified in early childhood education and childhood education and is also approved until 2025. Thomas graduated from Fredonia and attended the University of Buffalo, with a concentration in English and has her Master’s in Education Technology. Thomas, who was in attendance, expressed her gratitude with the district bringing her on board and her excitement to start.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity,” Thomas said. “I’m really excited to be here and be a part of the Fredonia district.”

Finally, Goff was brought on to serve in the music program and is certified in music education from birth to grade 12. Goff has spent the last several years in Virginia and is an accomplished cellist in her own right. Goff received her master’s at Syracuse University, and Zilliox said her experience in larger school districts will be beneficial.

“School districts in Virginia are much larger than in New York,” said Dr. Zilliox. “So, she has experience in the larger districts.”

On top of that, Zilliox said that Goff was interested in Fredonia based on the music department’s reputation and her own past experiences.

“She was drawn to Fredonia based on her memories of music camps at SUNY Fredonia,” Zilliox said. “She’s aware of the high expectations of the Fredonia Music program.”

The three new hires were also approved to a per diem job on a substitute basis, so they could get a head start within the district. Zilliox is excited for all DeGroff, Groff, and Thomas to be on board, and is happy that the district is able to attract these quality candidates. “All of our hirings this summer have been fantastic,” said Zilliox. “We believe they’ll do a fantastic job. It shows that Fredonia has a reputation of being a great place to be.”

The next meeting of the Fredonia school board will be Aug. 10 at 6 p.m.

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