Press Releases 2019-2020
Ithaca City School District Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown has been selected by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (“The Council”) to receive the 2020 Appreciation Award. This annual award is given in recognition of the extraordinary efforts by members of The Council to improve public education and serve the children in New York State.This year, the Appreciation Award will be presented to two individuals, Brown and Superintendent Dr. L. Oliver Robinson of the Shenendehowa Central School District, who together established The Council’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. As co-chairs, Brown and Robinson continue to lead the commission in its efforts to promote equity, cultural responsiveness, and inclusion in public school.
Since 2018, the ICSD has hosted the commission’s annual Diversity Symposium of Thought Leaders, a two-day national conference for educators. The commission has also conducted regional workshops in Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Long Island, Albany, New York City, and other locations throughout New York State.Brown and Robinson will be presented with the 2020 Appreciation Award on March 1, during The Council’s annual Winter Institute in Albany, N.Y. Brown, who has served as the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District since 2011, is the recipient of various other awards and recognitions, including:
- 2017 New York Superintendent of the Year
- National School Board Association’s “20-to-Watch”
- 2019 Tompkins County Distinguished Citizen Award
January 28, 2020 - On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved two administrative appointments for the 2020-2021 school year. Beginning July 1, 2020, Daniel Breiman will assume the role of Administration Officer and Jeffrey Tomasik will replace Breiman as the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School.Breiman, an Ithaca native and ICSD alum, began his career in education in 2001 as a classroom inclusion teacher in New York City and then as an inclusion specialist in Cambridge, M.A. In 2003, he moved to Houston, T.X., where he worked as an educator and school administrator for eight years, including four years as an elementary principal. Breiman returned to Ithaca in 2011, after being appointed principal of Belle Sherman Elementary School, where he currently still serves.
“For the past nine years it has been my great honor and privilege to be the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary,” said Breiman. “Seeing the growth of our students has brought me the most pride and joy. Our students are problem solvers, collaborators, and are ready to lead. I am privileged and excited to now join our Superintendent, Luvelle Brown, and other central office leaders to further support Belle Sherman, and all students in the Ithaca City School District.”In addition to holding degrees from Boston University and New York University, Breiman earned an Ed.D. in Education Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University in 2019. His two sons currently attend Northeast Elementary School.
Replacing Breiman as the principal of Belle Sherman Elementary will be Jeffrey Tomasik, who is now in his 20th year in the district. Tomasik joined the ICSD in 2000, serving first as an English as a New Language (ENL) teacher and then as an associate principal at DeWitt Middle School. In 2003, Tomasik was appointed principal of Northeast Elementary School. He remained at Northeast for the next 12 years, during which time the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2015, Tomasik took on his current role as principal of Boynton Middle School.“I am extremely grateful for my five years at Boynton and have learned so much working with a talented staff and incredible student body,” said Tomasik. “I am also excited to be heading back to elementary school and very much look forward to joining the Belle Sherman community in June.”
Tomasik holds degrees from Rutgers University and the University of Virginia. His wife, Jennifer Wilkie, also works for the district, serving as an instructional coach at Cayuga Heights Elementary School. Their two children both attended ICSD schools and are graduates of Ithaca High School.
September 5, 2019 - Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown announced the first cohort of students selected to be part of the Aspiring Educators Award and Program during the district’s annual Convocation on Sept. 3.The Aspiring Educators Award and Program recognizes high school students from the ICSD who show promise as future educators and educational leaders. The program is open to rising juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing teaching as a profession.
The first three students selected to participate in the Aspiring Educators Program are Ithaca High School senior Travion Brooks, and juniors Karije Henderson and Kenya Westfield.
Through the program, Brooks, Henderson and Westfield will receive mentorship opportunities with ICSD teachers and administrators, and will be included in professional development activities that expose them to the education profession.
“Increasing the number and diversity of talented individuals in the professional educator pipeline should be at the top of the list for all school districts,” said Brown. “We can do much to provide young men and women from underrepresented backgrounds the chance to experience the joys of being an educator through direct mentorship and learning opportunities.”
Following Brown’s announcement, New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) president William Miller presented the ICSD with the “Champions of Change for Kids” award, in recognition of the work being done through the Aspiring Educators Award and Program.
The Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) supports the Aspiring Educators Award and Program through a special ICSD Superintendent Fund. This fund is open to tax deductible donations from community members who share Dr. Brown’s interest in encouraging local youth to consider careers in education through the Aspiring Educators Award and Program. To learn more, or to donate to the fund, visit www.ipei.org/icsd-superintendent-fund.
August 21, 2019 - The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and Cornell University’s Office of Community Relations will once again mark the start of the 2019-2020 school year with a community gathering on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
The third annual “Ithaca NY: Leading with Love” event will be held at Enfield Elementary School. This is a simple, non-political event that celebrates education, young people, and the power and potential of unified, loving communities. Everyone is welcome.
The event will begin at 7:15 a.m. with the community gathering and welcoming Enfield students for their first day of the 2019-2020 school year. Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown and Enfield principal Keith Harrington will then offer brief remarks on the importance of compassion and inclusivity. The event will conclude by 8 a.m.
“We will open our school year with conversations and emblematic examples of our loving culture,” said Brown. “This is not a political event. This is a chance to show people from near and far what Ithaca and Tompkins County value: inclusive, empowering and culturally responsive environments.”
Parking will be available at Enfield Elementary School, 20 Enfield Main Road. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held inside the school.
For more information, contact ICSD Communications at email@example.com or (607) 274-2101, ext. 71102.
August 6, 2019 - The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, August 13 to solicit feedback on the proposed imposition of a sales tax on certain utility services. The hearing will be held in the ICSD Board Room at 400 Lake Street, beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Those who wish to give testimony but who are unable to appear personally on August 13 may send their written testimony and comments to the District Clerk, either by mail (Tricia Beresford, District Clerk, 400 Lake St., Ithaca, NY 14850) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About the Proposed Utility Tax
Section 1212 of the New York State Tax Law authorizes counties, cities, and small city school districts like the ICSD to impose a sales tax on certain utilities and utility services. Almost half of the 57 small city school districts in New York currently impose such a tax, as do Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca (for a list of jurisdictions that impose these taxes, view Publication 718-R, Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Residential Energy).
Pursuant to Section 1212 of the Tax Law, small city school districts may impose a sales tax on gas, electricity, refrigeration, and steam, and related services; telephony and telegraphy and related services (except interstate and international telephony and telegraphy and related services); telephone answering and facsimile transmission (fax) services; and mobile telecommunication services provided by a home service provider. The maximum rate at which a district may impose such a tax is three percent.
The ICSD Board of Education is considering the imposition of a sales tax on utilities and utility services as an alternative option for generating revenue. The district’s ability to assess property taxes is limited each year by the New York State tax cap. Additionally, shortfalls in foundation aid paid to the district, combined with wage increases included in negotiated contracts, have necessitated that the ICSD seek out alternative revenue sources in order to sustain quality instructional programs.
Unlike property taxes that disproportionately impact the district’s property owners, the utility tax would be a tax of general applicability, the burden of which would be shared by all users of utilities on an equitable basis.
Should a majority of the ICSD Board of Education vote to impose a tax on utility services after the August 13 public hearing takes place, the earliest the tax could go into effect is December 1, 2019.
Additional information on the proposed utility tax can be found on the ICSD website. If you have any questions, please contact ICSD Chief Operations Officer Amanda Verba at (607) 274-2121.
July 2, 2019 - On Tuesday, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Board of Education approved the appointment of Kristin Herman as the new principal of Caroline Elementary School.Herman has nearly 20 years of experience as an educator, including six with the ICSD. Since joining the district in 2013, Herman has served in multiple capacities, including middle school teacher, department leader, equity data team member and founding principal of Project Innovation, the ICSD’s fully inclusive, project-based summer school program. Most recently, Herman served as associate principal of Enfield Elementary School.
In each of her various positions, Herman has demonstrated her commitment to creating safe learning environments for students and staff, and to building meaningful relationships with families and the broader Ithaca community.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kristin Herman as the instructional leader of Caroline,” said ICSD Inclusion Officer Mary Grover. “She is a talented educator, who’s bringing a palpable passion and a great deal of expertise to the position. We’re grateful to the families and staff who partnered with us throughout the selection process to ensure that we found the best leader for the Caroline community. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for this great school.”
“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the Caroline Elementary School community as principal,” said Herman. “I have admired the work the Caroline staff has done and couldn’t be happier to join this team of dedicated educators as we support students and families. I will continue to dream big for the mighty Enfield Elementary School and the wonderful community it serves.”