The May 21 Scarsdale School Board meeting was bittersweet as the community bid farewell to retiring teachers and granted tenure to others. The departing faculty members have taught here for decades and have all played integral roles in shaping the Scarsdale school system. They began their careers when the Scarsdale Middle School was known as the Junior High and was half the size it is now, with three rather than four houses. The retirees were lauded by Assistant Superintendent Joan Weber, Middle School Principal Michael McDermott and Middle School PTA President Judy Stanley.
Two of the retiring teachers are Marie Tallevi and her husband, Leonard Tallevi. Marie began teaching in Scarsdale in 1973. She has taught at three out of five of the elementary schools and was remembered for her “strong relationships with students, her warm enthusiasm and her dedication.” She and her husband, Leonard, or Mr. Tallevi to those who had him in middle school, were classmates in college before they became colleagues in Scarsdale. Len will be retiring, ending his 41-year career in service to students, parents and teachers of Scarsdale. He teaches social studies at Scarsdale Middle School and has been the chair of the middle school social studies department for 38 years. He thanks Scarsdale for “taking a chance on a 21-year-old novice,” a decision that the town will never regret. Not only was he active as a teacher, but an acute observer of psychological types. Although his “type” is quiet and introverted, students will always remember the first day of Mr. Tallevi’s class when he exhibited quite the opposite behavior. Each year, on the opening day of school, Tallevi told the students to close their eyes and think of the summer. As they moved into a reverie, he would pull out his famous gavel, slam it down, and startle the class by saying, “forget about it, it’s time to work.” The Tallevis will be sorely missed in the Scarsdale school system.
Harvey Flisser joined the Scarsdale school system in 1987. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and went on to work for the NYC Board of Education as well as the Air and Space Museum. Many will remember the volcanic eruptions in his class as well as the time he spent supervising after school activities. Joan Weber describes Flisser as “warm, compassionate and professional.” Retirement will allow Mr. Flisser to pursue his interest in photography and commit more time to his grandchildren.
Mary Beth Greco will also retire from the Scarsdale Middle School. She came here in 1978 as an experienced teacher. She began teaching 6th grade math in Fountain House. Greco considers “teaching to be one of the most rewarding professions” and she “feels blessed to teach Scarsdale students.” Greco will be remembered for “Pi Day” celebrated in her classrooms each year on March 14, when she brought in pies for the students to eat. Another interesting fact about Ms. Greco is that she raises homing pigeons. Which she used in math lessons and released at the middle school on the International Day of Peace. Ms. Greco was an excellent asset to the math program.
Discussing the evolution of Ken Holvig’s years in Scarsdale, Joan Weber said, “trying to capture his career in Scarsdale is like trying to capture a cloud.” Ken Holvig was originally an English teacher in Clarkstown before becoming a computer teacher for SMS where he as worked for two decades. During this time he has seen the world move from floppy disks and dot matrix printers, to wireless, Bluetooth and iPads. Holvig is a man of many talents who was named an Apple Distinguished Educator, taught courses at STI, coached golf, and even wrote a regular golf column for the Journal News … all while helping the district integrate new technologies into the classroom. Many wonder when Holvig found the time to sleep. He plans to move to Minnesota to work for Apple and be nearer to his children.
In other business at the meeting, incoming Scarsdale High School Principal Kenneth Bonamo was given a three-year provisionary appointment beginning July, 2012. Bonamo was selected from a pool of 75 talented applicants, 28 who were screened by the selection committee. A former Russian teacher, Bonamo comes to Scarsdale from Townsend High School in Queens, where he has served as principal for the last four years.
In addition, the following staff members were given three-year probationary appointments:
- Erica Curran, Science Teacher, Scarsdale High School
- Robert Daly, Social Studies, Scarsdale Middle School
- Michael Egan, Science Teacher, Scarsdale High School
And the following staff members were granted tenure by the district:
- Duncan Wilson – Principal, Fox Meadow Elementary School
- Leila El-Chehabi, Special Education
- Sidney Lipez – Elementary
- Caitlin Saladino – Elementary
- Kevin Blake – Physical Education
- Bethany Unterberger – Remedial Speech
- Maria Vasconez – Elementary/Spanish
- Jennifer Benash – Remedial Speech
- Cristal Edwards – Elementary
- Jessica Slotwinski – Music
- Jessica Williams – Science
- Vanessa Blood – Science
- Sheilah Chason – Mathematics
- Nicola Minchillo – Social Studies
- Nancy Thompson – Guidance Counselor