District bids goodbye to popular science teacher as she retires

REPORTER FILE PHOTO| Sharon Gibbs at a former Science Fair she coordinated.

The Board of Education bid a sad goodbye Monday night to popular science teacher Sharon Gibbs who took a medical leave of absence a few years ago and has now made her retirement permanent as of September 25.Ms. Gibbs began teaching in the district in 2000 and during her medical leave, she consistently made herself available to substitute teachers to assist in the work she wished she was back doing with her students.

“Her passion was only matched by her devotion to the children,” said Board of Education President Thomas Graffagnino, wishing her a long and happy retirement.

“She will not be gone in spirit,” Superintendent Christine Finn said. Although Ms. Finn is only in her second year in the district and was not here when Ms. Gibbs was teaching, she had come to know Ms. Gibbs through the teacher’s visits to the school.

Board members talked about their children’s experiences with Ms. Gibbs in glowing terms, saying she treated her students as though they were her own children.

The Board heard from National Honor Society student Michael Payano about his recent participation at a State Summit Conference in Stamford, Connecticut where he said participants engaged in conversations and made presentations about global citizenship, Mr. Payano said he learned about the roles of groups including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross.

The Board tweaked its agreement with the Shelter Island Faculty Association granting teachers with a 12-month unit an additional vacation day for each year of service beyond the first 15 years for a maximum of five days. The provision replaced one that granted the time as a personal day.

In other business, the Board:

• Administered the oath of office to new district business official Linda Haas who replaced Idowu Ogundipe who transferred to a district nearer to his home at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

• Administered the oath of office to Nicholas Labrozzi as the 2018-19 student representative to the Board of Education.

• Granted stipends of $1,500 to five teachers serving as mentors to new faculty members. The five are Lynne Colligan, James Dibble, Jennifer Gulluscio, Janine Mahoney and Devon Treharne.

• Authorized the district to accept a $250 contribution from Joan Benoit Samuelson and Scott Anders Samuelson to be used by the school’s cross country team; an $1,100 contribution from Shelter Island Presbyterian Church to be used to fund college field trips for juniors and seniors; and what Ms. Finn called an extensive collection of furniture from Abby and Frederick Dress to replace aged furniture a the school. Mr. Labrozzi told the Board the Student Council plans to replace old pictures around the school with new photographs, but to make a mural with the older pictures; and said a Halloween program of games is being planned for students in grades six through 12.

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