Perspective: Tony Gianesi – Chief Operating Officer

Students.  One simple word to define the essence and existence of Elkhart Community Schools. Students.  The reason every single employee is EQUALLY important to the Elkhart Promise. Students.  To know every student by name, supported by highly effective staff, not only teachers, substitute teachers, and principals but paraprofessionals, nurses, guidance counselors, secretaries, custodians, maintenance, food service, bus drivers, bus monitors, mechanics, IT, safety and security and administrators.  If I missed a specific group it is not intentional.  EVERY employee is an integral and essential part of the education of every student.

As the former Director of Building Services and currently the Chief Operating Officer I understand and greatly value all ECS employees and do not forget the reason we are here:  Students.  From my first day in February 2006 I was encouraged by Dr. Woods to always place our students first as they are the reason all employees are here.  I share this story often, with fellow staff members, with Board members, and with members of our community.

Students:  In partnership with our community we will provide education through opportunity.  With every staff member and our community engaged with students, we will graduate career/college ready and life ready students.  And yes, all employees are vital to the education of our students and the Elkhart Promise.  Every task performed by our employees, our educational family, contributes to the education of our students.

Those who know me and have worked with me understand the passion that burns within me.  I do not like to speak or write in the first person, as the efforts needed to support our students are never the act of a single person.  But I will digress for a moment to share a story as seen through my eyes.

Several months ago I was contacted by Jill Balcom at Bristol Elementary.  The Bristol PTO wanted to donate a wheelchair accessible swing to the school to honor Stephanie Knowlton, a special education teacher there.  Jill and I met with Julie Gaff, president of the PTO, and Jeff Watson, Assistant Supervisor of Building Services, to discuss a location and the logistics to install the swing.  Buildings Services staff contacted a vendor to assist with the purchase of the swing, completed preparation of the playground, and the actual installation.  On August 31st several people, myself included received an email from Gaff. This is why I love my job.

Gaff had attached two pictures. One of the swings that had been implemented, and one that depicted a student enjoying the swing. Something as simple as a piece of playground equipment had made an immediate impact in the lives of both students and parents alike. Regardless of whether or I not I was directly involved with the kids, I was making an impact in their lives. Each and every role, I learned, remains pertinent within our school community.

Included are the pictures from Gaff. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Participating in the educational family that is Elkhart Community Schools allows my passion of serving our students to grow and working with the best co-workers one could ask for allows ALL of us to educate, regardless of direct or indirect contact with our students.  As each school day passes and each school year passes, we turn passion into opportunity and educate through opportunity.  For one common goal, one common thread, one common purpose:  Students.