Bethlehem School board begins new year

Even though it's summer, it was like the first day of school for the Bethlehem Board of Education as it kicked off its 2008-09 year and introduced its new members and new superintendent.

At its Wednesday, July 9, meeting, the board unanimously voted to reinstate James Lytle as its president and James Dering as its vice president. The meeting also marked the first for Michael Tebbano as the district's new superintendent.

Tebbano was the district's assistant superintendent and took over the spot from longtime superintendent Les Loomis, which in turn created an opportunity for several Bethlehem administrators to move up the ranks. The district has also recently named former Middle School Principal Jody Monroe as assistant superintendent to fill Tebbano's vacancy and Assistant Middle School Principal Sandy Morley to fill Monroe's.

Newly elected board of education members Laura Ladd Bierman and Matt Downey were sworn in and introduced at the meeting as well. Both were elected in May when they ran unopposed for two open seats on the board.

Bierman is self-employed in a home business providing consulting and financial management services for a national membership organization. She first moved to Delmar in 1982, and has lived in the district for a total of 11 years, recently returning in 2005.

Bierman and her husband, Luke, have three children, a college senior, a college freshman and an eighth-grader at Bethlehem Middle School.

Downey is currently acting director of audit and quality assurance with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. He has been a district resident for 17 years, and he and his wife, Debra, have two children at Bethlehem Middle School.

Thank you for charging Jim and me with the responsibility of serving the board as its officers, Lytle said after being re-elected president.

In his first superintendent's report, Tebbano told board members that the Bethlehem Class of 2008 contained 378 graduates, out of which 133 received Advanced Regents Diplomas. Tebbano said it represented a 95 percent graduation rate, and the district expects the rate to jump up to 100 percent by summer's end.

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