SHERMAN - The Sherman Central School District Board of Education accepted with regret a letter of resignation from Superintendent Thomas Schmidt at its regular board meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11.
Schmidt, who has served as superintendent for six years, stated in the letter he plans to retire. His resignation will take effect Aug. 3, 2012.
"After 39 years in education, I think it's time," Schmidt said. "This was a tough one to write and I have enjoyed being here. This is a great school, I think the best in the county."
Photo by David Prenatt
Sherman Central School Superintendent Thomas Schmidt announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year at a recent school board meeting.
Schmidt said he will stay on through most of the summer to help Principal Kaine Kelly with the operations of the school until a new superintendent is named, especially because of an ongoing building project that will continue through the summer.
Schmidt began his career in education teaching first and second grade in the Randolph School District as well as coaching girls' basketball and softball. From there, he became the elementary principal at Bemus Point, and then served as program coordinator for the Chautauqua County Teacher Center. After that, he served as assistant principal for the middle school and elementary principal in the Jamestown School District, and was assistant superintendent for Depew Schools before coming to Sherman.
"I've been lucky in 39 years to have worked in great places," Schmidt said. "Sherman is a great place to end my career - great students, amazing teachers and caring parents. It was a tough decision to retire, but it's time and I'm looking forward to spending time with my wife."
In other matters, Schmidt noted that phase one of the building project, which involved the hot water system, is nearly completed. New hot water boilers have been installed which should substantially reduce the school's utility costs, he said. Completion of phase one will involve a short period of time when the school is without hot water, Schmidt said. Preparations have been made for this time, especially with the cafeteria. Board member Melissa Lyon recommended that Schmidt contact the County Board of Health prior to the shutdown so it is aware of the circumstances.
By Feb. 4, the district plans to award the bid for phase two of the project, which involves hallway finishes, floor and wall tiles, Schmidt said. The bids require the work to take place during the second work shift after school is out of session. If none of the bids are acceptable, phase two will be merged with phase three in the summertime.
Bids for phase three, which involves improvements to the science rooms, the main floor corridors and the foyer to the auditorium, will be awarded on May 2, Schmidt said. Construction should begin June 15 in the high school and June 24 in the elementary school.
In other business, the board reviewed transportation, maintenance and capital budgets. Several increases and decreases were noted. Budgets will be finalized in April.
Head bus driver Phil Peck reported the school will be purchasing one full-size bus and one wheelchair-accessible bus in the coming year. This will be to replace two buses that will be traded in. Peck noted it was not the scheduled year to buy a wheelchair bus, but the district has acquired two more students who use wheelchairs
Superintendent Schmidt noted state transportation aid pays for about 90 percent of the cost for new buses, while the trade-in covers the rest. Thus, new buses do not actually cost the district. The aid is provided over a period of time, however, so "the district has to pay up front," he said.
Principal Kaine Kelly reported that the district has been avidly pursuing a pro-active response to bullying. The school has conducted sessions in grades one through twelve and has discerned that, while there is very little physical bullying, many students express feelings of being bullied emotionally and socially. Two upper grade students, David Kelly and Amy Sands, have volunteered to speak with students about the effects of bullying.
The board also accepted with regret the resignation of school guidance counselor Kelly Deck, who will be moving to another state after more than 10 years of service to the school. Substitutes for bus driving and teaching, as well as additional appointments for head custodian Jared Oehlbeck were also approved.