Former Board President Honored

The Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education held a regular meeting Tuesday where former board president Joe DiMaio received the Distinguished Contributor Award from the district. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

To Joe DiMaio’s surprise, the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education honored his lifelong contribution to the school district.

DiMaio, former board president, received the Distinguished Contributor Award from the district that was approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

After receiving the award, DiMaio simply thanked the board.

“It’s not very often I’m speechless, believe me those of you,” DiMaio said. “But tonight I am. Thank you so much. None of us do this for any of that and I just want to thank you again. Thank you.”

A portrait of DiMaio, revealed at the meeting, will be added to the Distinguished Contributor Hall of Honor inside the administrative office.

“He served the Jamestown schools for over 40 years not just as a teacher but as a coach,” said Paul Abbott, board president. “And when his time working for the district was over, Joe took it upon himself to become a member of the school board serving last as the president of the school board before stepping down.”

Abbott said most people who have been involved at JPS have a “Joe DiMaio story.” Abbott recalled being coached by DiMaio on the Jamestown football team when he was 14 years old.

“(He was) really a father figure to all of us,” Abbott said.

Prior to receiving the award, a pre-recorded video of Dr. Bret Apthorpe, JPS superintendent, was played. DiMaio, having no knowledge of the award, was visibly surprised when Apthorpe congratulated him on being the recipient of an award he had not officially received yet.

“When the board of education, Joe, brought up the idea of giving you the Distinguished Contributor Award, I was just thrilled,” Apthorpe said. “I learned so much listening to board members, each of them talking about your legacy and the contributions that you’ve made to this community.”

Apthorpe recalled his first month as superintendent in 2017 when he traveled with DiMaio to Albany. Apthorpe cited that trip as a main catalyst to helping himself acclimate to Jamestown.

“Since that time, it’s very clear to me how much of an influence you’ve had on this community and this culture,” Apthorpe said. “Sorry I can’t be there tonight, Joe, but congratulations on an award very well deserved.”

In other news, many members of the school district were awarded tenure status at Tuesday’s meeting. Each personnel member’s corresponding principal spoke on behalf the tenured employees.

Those employees included Maureen Diehl, behavior specialist; Tambra Hallett, elementary teacher; Elizabeth Harris, special education; Aaron Jessey, English teacher; Gillian LaMancuso, school counselor; Jayne Marsh, elementary teacher; Deborah Oakes, ESL teacher; Carrie Pawelski, music teacher; Mary Soto, school psychologist; Thomas Tantillo, special education; Michelle Trussalo, special education; and Katherine Zwald, elementary teacher.

Additionally, a moment of silence was held at the beginning of the meeting for Jason Williams, Washington Middle School teacher. Williams died unexpectedly Sunday. The district released a statement regarding Williams on Monday.