Recorder News Staff
The Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy will soon have a new permanent principal.
In a 5-2 vote Monday evening at a special Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education meeting, Joseph Witazek was appointed as Lynch principal.
He will begin Feb. 4.
Greater Amsterdam School District Superintendent Thomas Perillo said Tuesday that the special meeting was solely for the board to hear more about Witazek and the available position.
Witazek's appointment comes after a third try in front of the Board of Education.
The last two meetings resulted in a split vote on his resolution causing his appointment to not pass.
But Monday's meeting gave the board an opportunity to get some of its final questions answered.
"We had a very nice discussion and I provided some information that the board had requested and wanted," Perillo said, adding that after the executive session, the board "felt comfortable enough" to come out of the session and vote.
Witazek is currently serving in Rockland County's North Rockland Central School District as West Haverstraw Elementary School's principal.
"He has a vast experience in administration and he's got a very good component in having been a former middle school principal an elementary principal, and an assistant elementary principal," Perillo said. "He brings the necessary background to the middle school, which was what we were looking for."
Since the departure of former Lynch principal John Penman to the Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications over the summer, the middle school here in Amsterdam has been working under the direction of two interim principals.
"The building (staff) has been very, very flexible ... but it's time for them to have a set leader in the building," Perillo said.
Having someone come in February does pose a challenge, Perillo added, but he feels confident that it will be a positive change for the middle school.
In a phone call Tuesday evening, Witazek said he is ready to be a leader at the middle school.
"I feel that my role as a leader in the building is to really make Lynch Middle School fresh in the community," he said, adding that he hopes to speak with the community to "get a feel for what they want Lynch Middle School to be."
"I think middle school is really my niche."
At his current district for the past four years, Witazek said it will be hard to leave, but knows how exciting of an opportunity it will be to be back in the Capital Region.
The city's motto "Small city, Big heart" is what drew him to apply, he said.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with the students and faculty and community members," he said. "And hopefully we can make great things happen."
Board president Nellie Bush said Tuesday that the move will be good for the school, especially for starting new initiatives within the building.
"The time has come," she said. "We need to be concerned about the students and staff."