Holley teachers praise outgoing Board of Education president

Photos by Tom Rivers: Brenda Swanger is hugged by Melanie Montague, president of the Holley Teachers Association, during last week’s Board of Education meeting.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2019 at 9:44 am

Brenda Swanger helped lead overhaul of district campus

HOLLEY – Brenda Swanger is retiring from the Holley Board of Education on June 30, following six years as BOE president and 15 years of service total as a volunteer member of the board.

She was praised during last week’s BOE meeting by leaders of the Holley Teachers Association. Melanie Montague, the HTA president, said Swanger has always been “pro teacher and pro student.” She also worked hard to communicate with teachers and staff, Montague said.

She and HTA Vice President Kathy Monks surprised Swanger and presented her with flowers during the Board of Education meeting.

“I love all of you,” Swanger told the HTA leaders. “I love the staff.”

The school campus has been radically upgraded during her tenure with $32 million of upgrades. The middle-high school was largely untouched for about 40 years until a big renovation project.

The school was built in the early 1970s in the “open classroom” model with most of the classrooms in the center of the school building without access to the windows and natural light on the outer walls.

The $32 million in improvements were spread throughout the district campus. There is a new transportation facility for buses, a new athletic field and all-weather track. The school buildings have new roofs.

The junior-high school received the most attention, with the cafeteria moved out of the instruction portion of the school. That reduces noise and disruption for teachers and students. The hallways have new lockers.

The district created an inner light corridor some all classrooms now have access to existing light. The corridor includes many plants. A new cafeteria is in an addition with big windows that let in lots of light. The district also added a “light corridor” in the center of the school to allow natural light for classrooms in the interior.

Brenda Swanger tears up during the meeting last week. She admitted she can be “an emotional wreck.” She is pleased with the progress at the school district.

Swanger said she is most proud of students that excel in the classroom and through BOCES, sports and community service.

At last week’s meeting, two students were recognized for winning first in a skills competition through BOCES. The humanities class shared about a booklet they created highlighting tourist attractions in Orleans County. Four teachers also were awarded tenure.

“Seeing all of this going on tonight shows us that we are moving in the right direction,” Swanger told the crowd at the meeting. “This is a wonderful place.”

Robin Silvis, a member of the board, also praised Swanger for her leadership for the school district, calling her a “great communicator.”

“You have done a fantastic job,” Silvis said.

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