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Frontier Regional, Whately Elementary start school year with new leaders

  • Frontier Regional School. STAFF PHOTO/Andy Castillo



For the Recorder
Friday, August 24, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — New leadership in several positions throughout the Frontier Regional Union 38 School District marks the biggest change for the coming school year.

Former Frontier Regional High School principal Darius Modestow will now serve as the district’s new interim school superintendent.

Modestow brings 15 years of administrative experience and 10 years experience as principal of Frontier Regional School.

Replacing Modestow as Frontier Regional’s new principal is George Lanides.

“I started on July 18, when Darius was moved up to superintendent,” Lanides said.

Lanides most recently was the assistant principal at Minnechaug Regional High School, and has also served as assistant principal in Greenfield and Westfield, and taught history in the Bronx for 10 years.

“It feels absolutely wonderful coming to Frontier Regional,” Lanides said. “Everybody here is so supportive, friendly and welcoming and I am really thrilled to be here.”

New at the high school this year will be online registration for sports, Lanides said.

Whately Elementary

Whately Elementary students will also see a new face in the principal’s office this year.

Kristina Kirton came on board July 16, having formerly worked at the Sullivan School in Holyoke for 26 years as the school’s assistant principal.

“I came from an elementary school of 560 kids and here we have 140 — that is a big difference,” she said. “It’s also nice the way they have managed to keep the class size nice and low here, as that allows teachers to really teach to the individual.”

The biggest class size at Whately Elementary is 20, with 15 being the smallest.

Kirton also said she is “amazed at the number of opportunities students have,” referencing the programming like gardening and sports.

“My personal welcome here has been unbelievably warm,” she said. “Before I came here people told me that it was called a little slice of heaven, and it is.”

Sunderland Elementary

Principal Ben Barshefsky says work will continue on a two-year student project designed to capture rainwater and divert it to the school’s garden.

“The project is quite exciting,” Barshefsky said. “We received a grant from the Sunderland Water Supply District last year and the upper grades went to the Hitchcock Center to learn about the entire process.”

He said students in the upper grades are helping students in the lower grades to work on the project.

“There is still a lot to be done but we will start building sometime this fall,” he said.

Barshefsky also said that the school will be implementing a new focus on teaching civics.

“We will look at how it ties into where we are, and how we act, as citizens in our own country,” he said. “That will tie in directly with the Sunderland In Action Day, where students perform community service both on campus and around town.”

A new playground is also in the works for the school.

“We are now in the design stage of an early childhood playground,” Barshefsky said. “Realistically, breaking ground won’t take place until 2019.”