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New principals at Carthage Central ready for school year

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GREAT BEND — Today is the first day of school, but not just for students.

It also is the first day for 80 percent of Carthage Central School District’s principals.

“Deep in my heart, I always wanted to be an elementary principal,” said Richard P. Weber, Carthage Elementary’s new principal.

Mr. Weber, who replaces Jennifer L. Vail, still will serve as the district’s fine arts director. He said he was faced with a big learning curve as he worked on student schedules and learning modules.

“It’s such a busy and exciting time,” he said.

He started his career 29 years ago at the same elementary school as an art teacher. At the time, Principal William H. Tribol took Mr. Weber under his wing.

Mr. Weber said he went to great lengths to get Mr. Tribol’s desk into his office.

“It has a few bumps and scratches, but it’s a solid piece of furniture,” he said. “It’s like having Bill back again.”

At West Carthage Elementary, interim Principal Anne Marie Bertram is gearing up for the year. She replaces Principal Judith A. Duppert.

Her position here is part of an administrative internship. She said her former position as a Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services network team member helped her prepare for the job.

“My goal is to assist teachers with the Common Core changes in mathematics and (English language arts), and make sure it’s an exciting year for both the teachers and the students,” Mrs. Bertram said.

She said she is nervous because it is her first year as a principal, but she is excited about the energy in the building.

Black River Elementary Principal Jennifer Myers, who replaces Staci A. Kline, comes to the school with experience as a former Jefferson-Lewis BOCES curriculum coordinator and South Lewis High School principal.

In addition to hiring new teachers, she has been meeting her staff and Black River families. “I feel our No. 1 priority is to provide the best educational experience to the new students,” she said.

Carthage Middle School’s new principal, Alicia A. Henry, was a former Jefferson-Lewis BOCES network team leader. She also has experience as a special education teacher.

“I’m not new to the game,” she said.

And, just like Mrs. Bertram, her primary focus is on supporting her teachers.

“I think that all schools in New York state are in a period of transition,” Mrs. Henry said. “My motto is to support (teachers) with accountability. They’re the ones that make the curriculum come alive.”

Mrs. Henry replaces interim Principal Peter E. Stratton, who was hired in August to serve until June 30 while a replacement for former Principal Andrea K. Miller was found. Mrs. Miller resigned a year ago to become the district’s assistant superintendent.

Mrs. Henry is not the only new administrator in the middle school. The district recently hired Kylie Buker as the assistant principal.

After a week of finalizing teacher and student schedules, Mrs. Henry is ready for the school year to begin.

“I’m incredibly excited,” she said. “Everyone has welcomed me with open arms.”

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