Reprinted from Ellicottville Central School
September 2014 Newsletter

This past June, three longtime members of the ECS faculty/staff and a district bus driver closed out over one 124 years of service to the district.

We have truly been blessed to have had employees like this who have dedicated so much of their professional career to our children and the Ellicottville community.

To spend 42 years in one school district is quite a feat. Even more special, is the fact that she spent another 13 years in Ellicottville as a student! Marion Polasik always challenged herself to constantly seek personal and professional improvement, which is the sign of a lifetime learner. When the new Common Core Curriculum was introduced, she embraced the changes and made sure she was prepared to assist her students and other members of the teaching staff.

Our school is truly losing a great teacher, but her family is gaining more time from their wife, mother and grandmother! Mrs. Polasik served this district, our children and families with a tremendous sense of personal commitment and professionalism.

Since 1978, Ms. Teresa Gemza was a member of the ECS staff after completing her first six years of teaching in Deposit, N.Y. In her early years at ECS, she coached girls’ basketball and softball while spending her entire teaching career at ECS in the primary grades.

As a teacher, Teri always provided her students with a fundamentally strong, caring and compassionate style that relied on good old-fashioned discipline, skill development and organization. This was the recipe she relied upon during her career, and countless children who passed through her classroom benefited greatly by this approach.

Sandra Reed’s career at ECS started as a substitute teacher aide in 1982, she moved on to a full-time aide in the mid-1980s and transitioned to the district’s first teacher assistant in 1990. Over the next 24 years, Sandy became a “resource” to work with students whose development was either delayed or were struggling to master the fundamental math skills they needed in order to be successful. There is no question that Mrs. Reed had a knack of finding a way to simply “turn on the lights” for some of our young people!

Richard Burkhard was part of the Ellicottville family for 14 years, starting as a substitute driver in March 2000 and transitioning to a permanent driver in September 2005. Driving bus is without a doubt one of most important and difficult jobs within the school operation. The ability to provide for the safety of everyone on the bus while maintaining the control and respect of the students is truly a challenging assignment.

It is impossible to immediately replace these dedicated employees, but we are thankful that they chose Ellicottville Central School in the first place. May their retirement years be filled with good health, happiness and time to do some of those things that work prevented!