Students and staff at Lincoln Elementary School will soon be missing their long-time principal, as Felix Muzza prepares for retirement at the beginning of January.
On Tuesday, during a meeting of the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education at Lincoln, Muzza was recognized for his decades of service by Lincoln's 4th grade students, who sang a song of gratitude while holding up letters that spelled out "Thank you, Mr. Muzza." He also received, from his students, gifts of a Jamestown Public Schools coffee mug, lapel pin and a framed portrait to be displayed in the halls of Lincoln.
Joseph DiMaio, Jamestown Public Schools board president, made a few remarks on behalf of the Board of Education.
Felix Muzza, principal of Lincoln Elementary School, holds up a portrait given to him by Lincoln’s 4th grade students who are pictured above. Muzza, who is retiring at the beginning of January, was honored for his service at a meeting of Jamestown Public Schools’ Board of Education on Tuesday.
"On behalf of the Board of Education, we just want to commend you for your years of service to Jamestown," he said, addressing Mr. Muzza. "Jamestown has no better cheerleader. Felix, it has been a pleasure working with you and, at the same time, you're going to love retirement."
Speaking on behalf of the Jamestown district was Deke Kathman, superintendent of schools.
"Since I came to this district in 1987, I've been working side by side with Mr. Muzza," he said. "We've had some great times together and we've been great partners. Felix, it's been great working with you and I know that there is absolutely no one else in the district who abhors more the spotlight shining on him. Speaking for the district, I want to thank you for your service to the district."
Muzza has been with the district since 1978, serving in several different capacities. He originally served as a teacher at Jamestown High School from 1978 until 1984. In 1984, he worked at Lincoln as dean of students as well as the seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher. In 1986, he served as assistant principal at Lincoln until 1990, when he became principal at C.C. Ring Elementary School. He served at Ring until 2004, when he returned to Lincoln as principal.
"I've been very fortunate," said Muzza. "I want to thank everybody, my family and students I've had throughout the years. I've had thousands of kids that I've interacted with (that now range) from age 4 to age 52. So I've been fortunate to have had tremendous support and had the greatest students in the world. Parents, staff, the board of education and central administration have all been very supportive. I absolutely could not have had the success that I've experienced if it wasn't for all of that support I've had through the years."
Donnelle Conti, a teacher at JHS, had some comments to share about working with Muzza.
"As a principal, you're looking at one of the best we have in the district," she said. "He is definitely here for the kids, that is his main role; and there are a lot of times that it doesn't matter what else is going on, as long as the kids are taken care of, that is his priority. Today, he was standing out in the middle of the parking lot, while it was pouring down rain, and all he was concerned about is making sure that there was not one single kid left outside that had not been picked up. To me, that is a major deal and we don't see a lot of that."
A former student of Muzza's and now father to three current students, Branden Maggio, shared his impressions of Muzza.
"I had him as a principal here at Lincoln in seventh and eighth grade," he said. "As a student and then becoming a parent, I realized what a great principal he was even back when I was in school. He was strict, he was decent and he was very fair. As a parent, seeing every day that he is most concerned about the kids makes you know your kids are safe and he's looking out for them. So we're sad to see him go. He's a great man and we're going to miss him."