New members get welcome to Gowanda

Submitted photo John Waterman, right, signs the oath to become a member of the Gowanda School Board during Wednesday night’s meeting. Gowanda Board Member Max Graham (sitting) and District Clerk Kathy Ferneza (standing) are also shown.

GOWANDA — The beginning of a school year gives students and faculty an opportunity to start fresh. For some, it is in fact a true beginning for their time within the district — and this month at Gowanda featured many new beginnings.

The Gowanda school board acted as more of a welcoming party for their new staff members on Wednesday night, hosting a meet and greet as part of the regular meeting. All in all, 17 new staff members were given a big welcome into the Gowanda School District.

“I’m proud to have you all on board,” said Gowanda Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson. “On behalf of the board, welcome to the Panther family.”

Of the 17 new employees, eight are being brought on as teachers. Courtney Aldrich returns to the district as a physical education teacher, while Hilary Fagnan has been hired as a kindergarten teacher, Kevin Leavell as a health teacher, Michelle Merrill as a social studies teacher, Elizabeth Novoa as a science teacher for the Middle School, and Rebecca Moran, Christina Shull, and Melissa Sikora have all been hired as Special Education teachers. Jeni Wilson was also brought in as a long-term substitute for first grade.

Additionally, Kathryn Beebe was welcomed to the district as a Student Services Coordinator, Kathy Degenfelder was brought in as a Library Media Specialist, Katy Delpriore as an Internal Suspension Aide, Jaime Farner as a Keyboard Specialist, Sharon Rebmann as a cleaner, Ashley Wakelee as the Director of Learning and Continual Improvement and Stephen Edmonds and Daniel Weber as bus drivers.

The bus drivers are of particular value to the Gowanda School District right now.

“Finding a bus driver is like finding a gold nugget on the street,” said Dr. Anderson.

But the new faces didn’t stop at school staff. On top of welcoming the 17 new employees, the Gowanda School Board also swore in a new member. John Waterman Jr., a graduate of Gowanda from 1992, was given the oath, as the last seat on the Gowanda School Board has finally been filled. The Board is happy to see Waterman come on board, and Waterman himself is excited to get to work.

“I appreciate the warm welcome from everybody,” Waterman said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this building and I never envisioned being in this seat. I’ve come a long way to participate and I look forward to doing the best I can for our students, faculty, and community.”

Gowanda School Board will next meet on October 20.


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