The turn of the new year will mark an administrative change for two Jamestown elementary schools.
Next week, students at Fletcher and Lincoln elementary schools will be welcomed back to school by their new principals: Maria DeJoy and Katie Russo, respectively.
DeJoy and Russo are scheduled to begin their new positions on Jan. 2.
DeJoy, who attended Fletcher school, is a Jamestown High School graduate and former teacher. She has 11 years of instructional leadership experience as an elementary school administrator, with her most recent position being assistant principal at the Makowski IB World School 99 in Buffalo.
DeJoy holds a Certification in Advanced Studies in school administration and supervision and a School District Administrator Permanent Certification from the State University of Buffalo, a master's degree in education from SUNY Buffalo and a bachelor's degree in secondary social studies from SUNY Fredonia.
"We look forward to having Ms. DeJoy return to JPS to lead the Fletcher community as principal," said Tina Sandstrom, director of elementary education. "She brings years of experience as a school administrator and a deep understanding of elementary education."
DeJoy's professional responsibilities have included: assistant principal at Community School 53 in Buffalo, interim principal at the Bilingual Center at the Native American Magnet School 19 in Buffalo, district-wide curriculum supervisor for Buffalo Public Schools and a geography and world history teacher at JHS.
She has participated in numerous professional development opportunities including: Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling, Observation and Analysis of Teaching, Dignity for All Act, PBIS Universal and Culturally Proficient Coaching.
She has also been recognized by: Who's Who Among America's High School Teachers 1996 and 1998, Professional Leadership Academy Fellowship Award 2001 and Distinguished Women Leadership Award 2008.
"I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to be the next principal of M.J. Fletcher school," said DeJoy. "I attended Fletcher and have so many good memories of my teachers and all they did to make Fletcher a wonderful place to learn and grow. The teachers and staff have always been noted for providing a caring and nurturing learning environment while having high expectations for learning. And this still holds true today. I am excited to welcome the students, their families, the faculty and staff back to school, and to become an intercellular part of the community."
Russo, who attended Lincoln school, is also a graduate of JHS. She has been a fourth-grade teacher at C.C. Ring Elementary since 1994.
Russo holds an Advanced Certificate in school building leadership, a Master of Science in elementary education curriculum and instruction and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education early childhood from SUNY Fredonia.
"Mrs. Russo's knowledge of curriculum and instruction and her years of experience as an educator in our district at the elementary level, along with her leadership skills, make her the right fit to serve as principal at Lincoln Elementary School," Sandstrom said.
Russo's professional responsibilities have included: Grade Level Chairperson, Parent-Teacher Associaton Liaison, Scheduling Committee member, School Improvement Team member, Character Education Team member, Building Representative for Science, PBIS member and Common Core Leadership Team.
She has participated in many professional development opportunities including: Summer Reading Institute, Differentiated Instruction in Language Arts, Inclusion and Co-teaching, Step Up to Writing with Maureen Auman, Guided Reading, Reading First Online Academy, Crisis Prevention and Intervention, Ruby Payne and Generational Poverty, Harcourt Training, Training in School Violence Prevention and Intervention, SIOP Training for English Language Learners, Common Core and Castle Learning.
She is actively involved in many organizations including: Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, Jamestown Teachers Association and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
She is a member and Eucharistic Minister of the Holy Apostles Parish, JHS Marching Band Boosters and the YMCA Jets Swim Team Parent Group.
"It was quite the interview process and, luckily, they selected me," said Russo. "I am very fortunate and have a lot of pride in JPS and its history of excellence. This is a time of great change for education and there is a push for higher achievement. I was a student Lincoln for seventh and eighth grade and have had a long history at that building. Felix (Muzza) was my mentor, assistant principal and he hired me for my first teaching position at Ring. His shoes are very big and hard to fill but I'm up for the challenge and I'm very honored that I can follow his legacy. It's pretty neat that I can do that. I feel like I'm going back home."