Bronxville Union Free School District

Board President Expresses Congratulations and Appreciation

Remarks by Board of Education President Denise Tormey, June 18, 2015

Good evening, neighbors and friends of the Bronxville School. Welcome to the June 2015 regular meeting of the Bronxville Board of Education, our final meeting of this school year.

Before we get to the formal business of the meeting, I would like to extend warmest congratulations on behalf of the entire Board to the Bronxville High School Class of 2015, who will celebrate their graduation this coming Saturday evening.  We are fortunate to have a setting for our graduation that allows it to be a community as well as family event, and I urge all members of the school and village community to join in the celebration.  Last weekend, the class participated in the traditional Baccalaureate ceremony, held in the Sommer Center at Concordia College.  This is a very special event that provides our graduates an opportunity to showcase their considerable musical, acting and artistic talents with their classmates, families and friends.

I would also like to commend this class for their impressive academic achievements. At the May meeting, I congratulated two members of Bronxville's senior class, George Grealey and Xiao Huang, who were honored at the Lower Hudson Valley Council of School Superintendents’ 50th Annual Scholastic Achievement Dinner, which each year recognizes the top performing high school students in the region. This past week, Bronxville High School held its own academic awards ceremony and also announced those students who were recognized as National Merit Scholars and Semifinalists as well as winners of many local scholarship and academic achievement awards.  A complete list of the academic awards earned by our current senior class can be found on the school website as well as in the most recent addition of My Hometown Bronxville.  We are extremely proud of this class not only in terms of its academic achievements but also for the recognition so many of our students have received for community service and good citizenship. They have embodied the Bronxville Promise, and we wish them continued success in their college careers.

We will have formal action later in the meeting to accept the results of the May 19 election, but I will take the opportunity now to welcome Tom Nichols to our Board. Tom officially took office on May 20th following the election. Since Dr. James Hudson was serving an interim appointment this year, the May meeting was his last as a member of our Board. This evening will also mark the last official meeting for another of our long-time Board members, Chris Atayan, who is completing his sixth year of service. Jon Atkeson will be sworn in at our reorganization meeting on July 7th to replace Chris.

At the risk of repeating some of my comments at the May meeting, I would like to publicly express my personal appreciation and the entire Board's gratitude for Jim and Chris’s service as members of the Bronxville School Board.

Chris has been a valuable member of the Board and during his tenure served on the Audit, Finance and Negotiations Committees and as Special Education Liaison. Chris was Chair of the Finance Committee this year. These roles are critical to the Board and the school community and in performing those roles, Chris reinforced his position as fiscal watchdog. Chris is a staunch proponent of prudent use of District resources. During his tenure, Chris has been tenacious in evaluating the costs and relative benefits to be derived from district expenditures, which has contributed greatly to the District’s ability to comply with the 2% tax levy cap while maintaining an exceptionally high level educational program in Bronxville. He has combined his strong business sense with a sincere devotion to maximizing the educational and social experience of our students. His efforts have enhanced our ability not only to maintain but to expand our program offerings. The importance of his contributions during the throes of the economic crisis cannot be overstated.

Jim has been an invaluable contributor to our community and our school. As president of the Board for two years, Vice President both before and after his term as President, Chair of the Facilities Committee, past member of the Negotiations Committee and liaison to the Bronxville School Foundation for a number of years, Jim has brought singular leadership to our Board. Whatever the task, Jim embraced his Board service with a unique combination of professionalism, good humor and dedication that have made it a pleasure to work with him. We have all benefited from having him as part of our Board and as a neighbor and friend.  Fortunately for us, Jim will continue to serve as Chair of the Facilities Committee for the balance of this school year and will shift to being a community member of that committee next year.  I am sure his contributions in that role will be many and it is only fitting that he should continue on the Facilities Committee as we celebrate the completion of the auditorium project and embark on a number of anticipated future projects.

It has been an eventful year for our school and one that is ending on a very exciting note as the auditorium project nears completion. We will speak more about this later, but we are planning a community event early in the school year to celebrate the occasion.  The 2014-2015 school year brought a level of community interest and involvement in school matters that far exceeded those of recent memory. We all benefit from constructive discourse and public participation in matters that deeply affect our day-to-day lives. Despite differences of opinion that may exist, it is clear that the residents of Bronxville share a strong devotion to our students and dedication to the betterment of our school. It is this shared goal that I hope will propel us into the next school year. To that end, Dr. Quattrone and high school principal, Ann Meyer, will talk about a number of new and exciting initiatives in our school.

Finally, I would like to express my deep appreciation to my fellow Board members and all members of the administration, faculty and staff of the Bronxville School for their efforts during this school year and their continuing commitment to our school. I wish you all a restful summer and look forward to a productive and exciting year ahead.