The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

September 6, 2013

New leaders in Albion Elem.

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The students and teachers at Albion Elementary School have a new set of administrators this year.

Rachel Curtin and Jennifer Ashbery started off the 2013-2014 school year in their posts as principal and assistant principal, respectively.

Curtin joined the district from Chautauqua County, where she worked in the Jamestown City School District and the Silver Creek School District for the past 17 years as a music teacher. She also worked as a visiting lecturer for graduate education classes at Fredonia State University.

Curtin said she was looking for a “close-knit community” where she could work in a building leadership position. In Albion, she said there are a “lot of vibrant, wonderful things happening.”

Earlier this week, Curtin put her musical training to use by starting the school year off by singing the National Anthem. She said the first few days of school have been “going great” and the teamwork she has witnessed among the teachers, along with their warmth and caring toward the student body, has “been great to see.”

Curtin added, “I’m really looking forward to connecting with this community because there are some wonderfully strong, positive values here.”

An avid biker, Curtin also noted how the miles of trail along the Erie Canal “blows my mind!”

Ashbery, meanwhile, is used to the Erie Canal as she is originally from Albion and spent the last 14 years as a fifth-grade teacher in the district.

“I’ve kind of always known this was the path I was on,” Ashbery said of her new administrative responsibilities. She said she took advantage of the opportunity to go back to school a few years ago in order to earn the necessary qualifications for the job.

Now, Ashbery said she is looking forward to putting her talents and abilities to use for the benefit of the whole school rather than just her classroom.

“I’ll be able to have a greater impact on instruction and meeting student needs,” she said.

During her time as a teacher, Ashbery said she developed a strong ability to build cooperative relationships with parents and students, something she hopes to continue this year in an effort to “build positive feelings about the school district.”

Ashbery noted how her position includes being the school’s disciplinarian, but she said her plan is to “reinforce positive behavior choices and help guide students to make better choices” that are in line with the school’s values.

Moving from the classroom to the main office has been a “smooth” transition for the new administrators. For Ashbery, she said her colleagues in the building have been nothing but supportive, sharing excitement and offering congratulations to her on getting the promotion. 

She added that it is an “honor to continue to serve Albion as a hometown girl.”

Both Curtin and Ashbery agreed that they will make their decisions in line with the character traits promoted in the school: responsibility, respect, and optimism.

Together, they said they were optimistic that their hometown knowledge combined with a fresh perspective will work well.

“She’s the perfect counterpart for me,” Curtin said of Ashbery. “She compliments what I bring to the table.”

Ashbery echoed that sentiment.

“She’s looking at everything for the first time here, so there will be a lot of fresh ideas,” she said. “Its the best of both worlds.”