A Farewell to Frisicano

Posted on 14 August 2009

web Joan and Matt

A few months ago, Joan Frisicano informally announced her resignation as Sag Harbor Elementary school principal. Her decision, however, wasn’t made official until Monday night at a board of education meeting. Countless parents, administrators and board members thanked Frisicano for her role in shaping their children’s education and lives. After working for more than twenty years in the district, Frisicano is often recognized as a beloved educator in the community; but Matt Malone, a recognizable face to students and parents as the assistant principal of the elementary school, will fill her shoes in September at the start of the new school year.

At the meeting on Monday night, Frisicano highlighted her role as a mentor to Malone in a speech before the board and gathered public.

“I do believe it is a responsibility of this job to mentor others. For 12 years, I have worked with Matt Malone and he is proof of that success,” gushed Frisicano.

In his remarks, Malone said there is often a lack of close relationships between new teachers and administrators and senior educators in other school districts, but added that this isn’t the case in Sag Harbor. Malone started working in the village 14 years ago as a teaching assistant in Nina Landi’s fifth grade class. He slowly worked through the ranks of the school and has spent the past four years as assistant principal. Malone credits much of this success to Frisicano.

“Joan has been the absolute best. She has challenged me and corrected me when I am wrong,” noted Malone. “I think the Sag Harbor elementary school is the best place for children. I am excited about the future and all the great things we will do in the years to come.”

School Board President Walter Wilcoxen presented Frisicano with a clock on behalf of the district as a token of their appreciation for her work. Although Frisicano is closing the chapter on her life in the elementary school, she contends that she isn’t retiring.

In June, when Frisicano first announced her forthcoming resignation, she said, “I think I have one more step to go in my career, but I haven’t put my finger on it yet. All my thoughts right now are about leaving everything at the school in a good place.”

Bond and Energy Contract
As early as next summer, Pierson science students may be able to study solar and wind power in an intimate setting. The school board is exploring purchasing solar panels and a wind turbine as part of an energy efficiency contract, which will most likely be implemented in the coming school year. On Monday evening, the board gave a short overview of the contract, which included replacing most of the windows in the elementary school building. Superintendent John Gratto believes that many of the windows haven’t been replaced since the 1940s.

In the next few months, the board will mull over which items will be included in the contract, although several of them have a cost benefit to the district.

Wilcoxen explained during a later interview that the company Honeywell will install many of the items in the contract, including the windows, and the district will pay them a fee based on how much the school is expected to receive in energy savings. He added that there are rebates available for the solar panels and the wind turbine.

The windows, panels and wind turbine could be installed next summer because Honeywell is overseeing the installation and the school doesn’t have to bid on these projects.

Previously, the board eyed replacing two boilers in the elementary school, both of which are nearing thirty years of use; but Wilcoxen, a local architect, contended that cast iron boilers could last up to fifty years. Frisicano added that the real issue at the school is heat distribution throughout the rooms. Wilcoxen said in an interview that a portion of the bond monies will be used for a temperature control project, but at the meeting he added that a consultant might be needed to see if the building in fact needs a new boiler system.

“We are trying to flesh it out and get a general sense first of what people want,” remarked Wilcoxen of the ideas in the bond and energy contract. “When we reach a point where people are satisfied with the amount [to spend on this contract and the bond] then we will get the plans drawn.”

In addition to the bond and energy contract, the district is using money from the capital improvement fund to install new carpeting, track lighting and a screen in the auditorium.

Wilcoxen also confirmed that the nearly $250,000 worth of maintenance projects needed in the district’s facilities will be bundled into the bond for next year.

“These things hadn’t been taken care of for so long,” explained Wilcoxen. “We hope in the future to create a maintenance line in the budget to give a realistic view of this expense.”


Joan Frisicano has handed over the reins of Sag Harbor Elementary School to Matt Malone, above.

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