Meeting And Greeting

Superintendent Sits Down To Forum At Jackson Center

Bret Apthorpe, right, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, fields questions by Greg Peterson at his official welcoming at the Robert H. Jackson Center. The event started with an informal meet and greet that was followed by the formal interview conducted by Peters. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation officially welcomed Bret Apthorpe, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, with a meet-and-greet style forum at the Robert H. Jackson Center Tuesday night.

The event opened with a casual meet-and-greet and then broke into a more formal public interview conducted by Greg Peterson, a local attorney who conducts a variety of interviews at the Robert H. Jackson Center.

Apthorpe said he was honored to be invited to the Robert H. Jackson center to be welcomed to the community.

“Robert Jackson is such an icon to the area,” Apthorpe said. “Any opportunity to be apart of promoting Jackson and his legacy and the foundations of the support it, I was interested to do that.”

Apthorpe said he was blown away by how much history the Robert H. Jackson Center has within its walls. Apthorpe, a former history teacher, said he was very fascinated by Jackson and what he represented.

“The fact that this is in our own backyard is really pretty special,” he said.

Prior to the interview with Peterson, Apthorpe said he was looking forward to introducing himself to the community.

“I love this community,” Apthorpe said. “I’ve got deep roots in this community; I believe in this community. It always looks different from the inside looking out and I think that sometimes we’re a little too tough on ourselves around here and what we think we might have. This is a beautiful place.”

Apthorpe got a chance to look at the community from the outside when he left many years ago. Apthorpe went to high school in Mayville; and then received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Buffalo; his masters degree at the State University of New York at Fredonia and his doctorate at the University of Rochester.

After some moving around, Apthorpe taught at Southwestern Central School for 10 years before meeting his wife Tracy and finding work out in the Rochester area. Apthorpe said his goal is to show the better side of the area because he continues to believes in it.

“As the superintendent of the largest school district in Chautauqua County, I think its critical that the community gets a chance to meet and greet and learn about the person,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the goal of Tuesday night’s interview was to focus on the person and his philosophy. Peterson said the Robert H. Jackson Center was a perfect location to have this meet and greet because of what it represents.

Peterson referenced how Jackson was inspired by a Jamestown High School teacher Mary Willard and the impact she had on Jackson’s life and career. Peterson thought it was important for a superintendent of a school see that connection and that hopefully it gets relayed to teachers inside the district.