Office of the Superintendent

  • Superintendent Anthony PanellaWelcome to the Superintendent's Office 

    Anthony J. Panella
    Superintendent
    Email: apanella@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
     
    Debbie Custodi
    Secretary to the Superintendent and District Clerk
    Email: dcustodi@amherstschools.org
    Phone: 716-362-3051
    Fax: 716-362-3022 


    November 2019

    Coming into work one day this summer, a sign on a middle school teacher’s desk caught my eye. Her desk had been moved into the hallway due to our capital construction project and routine summer classroom cleaning. Every day in July and August as I walked to and from my office, I read the sign’s message: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

    Reflecting on the power of that message, I’d like to share with you some ways our students demonstrate kindness.

    Unity Day at Amherst Middle School was Oct. 23. As part of a national campaign supporting bullying prevention, our students wore orange clothing as a show of unity. Outside each sixth-grade homebase, large post-its were placed on hallway walls with the following questions: What does unity mean to us? We can help increase kindness at AMS by? We can stand up and be part of the solution to bullying by? We can show others we care by? Our sixth-graders filled those sheets using words like respect, kindness, sharing, values, working together, caring, peaceful, trustworthy, smile, invite, and stand up.

    One of our high school juniors, Isabella Kimball, spent the past year organizing The Spooktacular Skool Nite, a fundraiser for the Kevin Guest House and a Halloween event for our elementary and middle school students. She obtained building permissions, enlisted business support and donors, refined ideas and recruited about 45 student-helpers in the Pathfinders and Trailblazer student leadership. The Oct. 29 event raised over $1,700 for the Kevin Guest House which provides a home away from home for families traveling to Buffalo for medical care. What started as a conversation with the family she babysat, who had a connection to the Kevin Guest House, morphed into a community event that she hopes will continue. She’s making sure it does by training a successor to organize it in future years.

    At Smallwood, Lisa Pupo’s kindergarten class is known within the building as the Pupo Kindness Crew. They head up the soda pop tab collection program called “Pick Up the Tab for Kids”. They collect the metal tabs for recycling and the money goes to the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House, which also houses families whose children receive medical treatment. Mrs. Pupo builds math, writing and speaking lessons about the recycling program. A fun math fact they discovered: 60,000 pop tabs is equivalent to 40 lbs.

    Last December, first-graders at Windermere Boulevard “sprinkled” kindness by creating care packages for Compass House, a youth shelter. It started in Aubrey Brodfuehrer's class through classmate Leyla Switzer and her family who created the random act of kindness movement: Sprinkle Kindness 716. To fit in with the school's character education trait of empathy and an economics unit, the class used an assembly line to fill 100 bags with socks, gloves, snacks and water bottles. The project grew and all first-graders at Windermere were involved.

    I am proud to see that in a world where our students can be anything, they choose to be kind.