SALAMANCA — A new principal is at the helm of Seneca Intermediate School.

Nicole Beaver has been leading the way for students in the fourth through seventh grades since her appointment became effective April 6.

The Salamanca School Board of Education approved Beaver as the new principal at its March 3 meeting. To make her integration smoother, Interim Principal Pete Morgante stayed in the role through the end of the school year on June 30.

It’s been a wild transition into her first role as principal. Beaver, who goes by Nikki, said her first introduction to the staff was through ZOOM. Then she met many of the staff in person for the first time on Aug. 26.

Beaver has tried to encourage open communication at regular meetings and emails with staff. Being open, honest, transparent and vulnerable have been her key attributes going into the school year.

“I feel for teachers, students and parents at this time because everything is so unknown,” she said. “Not only has COVID-19 had a huge impact on how school will look and feel for the 2020-21 season, they are also faced with a new leader.”

According to Beaver, the biggest challenge at school is safety and safety trumps everything. The interpersonal connections teachers make each year with the students is second. She said building relationships and knowing each student individually is a priority for educators and the ongoing COVID-19 concerns make this difficult.

“The teachers have an incredibly difficult job at this time. This is a whole new way of teaching for them, some of which have been doing this job for over 20 years,” she said. “We are not only asking teachers to change how they normally do things, but to change quickly and effectively. That is not easy. I feel fortunate to be in this role as the principal to be able to support teachers during this time.”

As new principal, Beaver said her number one goal for this school year is to build relationships with everyone who is a part of the school — from parents and teachers to students. Further development of the Parent Teacher Organization is at the top of her priority list.

“I will be here to listen and support each and everyone of the students, parents and teachers through a time that is so unsettling for us all,” she said. “I believe a strong home/school connection is key to the students’ success.”

A HIGH SCHOOL graduate of Randolph Central School, Beaver received her Bachelor's Degree in Childhood Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, a New York State Teacher Certification from the University of Rochester and a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Western Governors University.

Prior to her position at Seneca Intermediate, Beaver was a teacher for the last nine years at Gail N. Chapman Elementary School in the Randolph Central School District. Including her years as a substitute teacher, she’s been teaching at Randolph for more than 10 years. She also gained experience as a substitute teacher at Falconer and Pine Valley central schools.

Initially hired at Randolph as a fourth grade teacher, Beaver has also taught second and third grades. She was a team leader for third and fourth grade teachers, and led Character Education assemblies for the elementary school. She also developed a Girls Running Club for students in grades 3-6.

Although she’s from Randolph, Beaver has a past with the Salamanca community. She spent many of her childhood weekends with her grandmother who lived and grew up in Salamanca. She also taught dance lessons at the Salamanca Theater.

Beaver and her husband, Cole, reside in Randolph with their five children ranging in age from 10-3. She said her husband has been instrumental in her role of becoming a principal.

With a desire to make an even larger impact on students, Beaver made the decision to leave classroom teaching behind to take on the administrative role. She said the passion she has for education will not be limited to a single classroom. As principal, it will be transcendent throughout the entire school.

“My superintendent at Randolph Central School, Kaine Kelly, gave me the push I needed when he suggested I participate in the University of Rochester’s ‘Call to Leadership Program,’” she said. “Throughout this program, I was privileged to work with Gail Hirst and Colleen Taggerty to further my understanding of being a ‘good’ leader. The further into the Leadership Program I got, the stronger my desire to pursue a principal role became. I was ready for a new adventure.”

Beaver said she believes the only way to be successful in this role is through teamwork, and she has a great team at Seneca Intermediate.

“Building trusting relationships with parents, students and staff will allow for a common vision and we will all provide support for each other,” she said. “While I am in the leader role, decisions will be made after communication and collaboration with others.”

Beaver said her main goal for this year will be to build a positive school culture centered around students. She wants Seneca Intermediate to celebrate successes and meet the needs of every student every day.

(Contact press reporter Deb Everts at salpressdeb@gmail.com)

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