Fredonia officially names new principal

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Fredonia removed the interim tag from its Middle School Principal, Jamie Polhamus, at a recent meeting of the Board of Education. Polhamus will receive a salary of $105,000 for the 2024-25 school year.

Through the most unfortunate of circumstances, Fredonia had an opening at its Middle School in the role of Principal after the untimely death of Paula Troutman earlier this year.

While the District conducted a search for the next long-term solution in the role, Assistant Principal Jamie Polhamus was tabbed as the interim Principal after working several years alongside Troutman.

In the months since, the District conducted its interview process, and recently, Fredonia settled on the candidate that was staring them in the face the entire time.

Fredonia officially removed the interim tag from Polhamus at a recent meeting of the Board of Education. Her three-year probationary position as Middle School Principal will commence July 1. Polhamus will receive a salary of $105,000 for the 2024-25 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Brad Zilliox stated that after several rounds of interviews, Polhamus became the clear choice to fill the role long-term that she has held since Troutman passed away.

“Jamie Polhamus certainly stood out above the crowd,” Zilliox said. “… We’re excited about what’s to come moving forward.”

Polhamus is a Fredonia High School graduate. She called the appointment “a perfect example of one of the reasons that I moved home for.”

Members of the Board of Education were so excited to approve Polhamus’ official hiring that there was a race to be the first to make the motion to approve the appointment. Sheila Hahn made the motion, which Board President Brian Aldrich stated he would have made himself if he could have. Hahn later insisted on a round of applause for Polhamus.

Board member Lisa Powell Fortna was on the hiring committee when Polhamus returned to her alma mater. Fortna noted she was “thrilled” to see Polhamus progress to her newest position.

“I appreciate your confidence in me,” Polhamus said. “I appreciate the continued support, from the District and from the Board.”

The District also recently found a new secondary Science Teacher. Kathryn Brown was hired to a probationary teaching position in the Science tenure area commencing Aug. 27. Brown is professionally certified in Earth Science Grades 7-12 and General Science Grades 7-12.

Zilliox noted that through the interview process, Brown demonstrated an approach to engage students in preparation for the regents exams. With nine years of experience, including time as a long-term substitute within the District, Zilliox said her experience “will be very helpful” in becoming part of the Science team.

The Board also recently appointed Courtney Barnett as a Teacher Aide. Marissa Boettcher was appointed as a long-term substitute Middle School Spanish Teacher, effective May 27, through the end of the school year. A three-year contract was also approved between the District and Assistant School Business Executive Kimberly Bingenheimer, through the 2026 school year.

The Board also accepted the resignation of Teacher Aide Katherine Rivera Cruz, Teacher Aide Christina Vazquez, District Librarian Liz Gruber, and Math Teacher Amber Powell. An unpaid leave of absence was also approved through the end of the school year for Physical Education Teacher Julie Sanders, who just welcomed her first child.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today