Nine Johnstown teachers retiring

JOHNSTOWN -The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education recently approved the retirements of nine teachers, effective next June.

The district in recent years has approved Johnstown Teachers Association contract terms enticing teachers to retire by the end of the calendar year for certain benefits, such as selling back accrued sick time.

All nine of the retirements are effective June 30.

Accepted were retirements of the following teachers: June Coleman – fourth grade, Glebe Street Elementary School; Andrew Dagostino, special education teacher; Mary Jablonski, speech teacher; Kathy Leibowitz – second grade, Glebe Street Elementary School; Caroline Olszowy, special education teacher; Sandra Vosburgh – second grade, Glebe Street Elementary School; Louise Carville – fifth grade, Pleasant Avenue Elementary School; Astrid Duross – third grade, Pleasant Avenue Elementary School; and Deborah Sepanara – first grade, Pleasant Avenue Elementary School.

The board also accepted the resignation of Warren Street Elementary School teacher assistant Debra Dutcher, effective June 30.

Board President Paul VanDenburgh wished the future retirees well.

Board member Kathryn Zajicek, a former president of the Johnstown Teachers Association, said the district is losing many talented teachers to retirement, and their positions will be tough to fill.

“Wow,” Zajicek said. “It’s just amazing – an incredible cadre of professionals and highly skilled individuals.”

Even though he offered “many thanks” to the retiring teachers, VanDenburgh added he was “concerned” about what this does to the district’s elementary school teacher ranks.

“This is a big brain drain to the district,” VanDenburgh said.

He kidded with the three principals in attendance at the board meeting – Abbey North of Glebe Street Elementary School, Jeffrey Vivenzio of Pleasant Avenue Elementary School and Scott Ziomek of Warren Street Elementary School – that they might be busy soon.

“I hope you like to interview,” the school board president said.

Board member Ronald Beck said the faculty retirements are “nothing new.” They are a trend occurring throughout New York state.

“Age is not the only factor,” said district Superintendent Robert DeLilli.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at