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POPLAR RIDGE — The Southern Cayuga Central School District appointed a new elementary principal Monday night during a special board of education meeting.

In a meeting that lasted two minutes, Dave Wiemann, president of the board, opened by saying “We are happy to be here to welcome Jean Amodeo.”

The board of education went on to unanimously vote to grant Amodeo a probationary appointment as Emily Howland Elementary School principal, effective March 1 through Feb. 28, 2022.

“Thank you for having me, I could not be more excited,” Amodeo said, laughing, immediately after the vote was finalized.

Originally from Long Island, Amodeo has been in Ithaca for over 20 years, and says the area is a “lovely change.” With a bachelor's degree in English from Ithaca College, a master's in English from Middlebury College, and a school educational leadership degree from SUNY Cortland, the educational system is far from new to Amodeo.

First an English teacher at Corning West High School, she went on to teach in Ithaca for 17 years. Amodeo said the past six years she has been an administrator in the Ithaca City School District running the English department.

“I am most looking forward to meeting the teachers and the students and families here, that's what I'm most excited about,” Amodeo said of her first appointment as a principal after the meeting.

“I've always been really happy as a teacher, I've loved my students and held relationships with them my whole life. (Being a principal) was something that came naturally as a result of opportunities presented to me and from people who have asked me to step up into leadership positions, and finding that I find the work very gratifying and that it's productive and helpful in a broader way than it has been as a teacher,” Amodeo said.

Amodeo will be the first long-term principal to replace former Principal Chris Clapper who left Emily Howland Elementary in December to become the Alexandria Central School District superintendent. Ron Springer has served as an interim principal since students returned from holiday break Jan. 2.

Amodeo said an educational challenge she is passionate about tackling is “students who are less successful than they should be.

“That's been my greatest drive in Ithaca, students who are not being successful in school, and working very closely with teachers and families to help them be successful. And that is the most rewarding work, doing anything we can to help families and their kids be successful.”

Staff Writer Megan Ehrhart can be reached at 315-282-2244 or or on Twitter @MeganEhrhart.


Towns Reporter