ALLEGANY — The past few weeks have been somewhat of a déjà vu for Anthony Giannicchi. He’s been running into Allegany-Limestone Central School District staff he had worked with in the past, as well as some who were once his students.
But it’s a good feeling. After cutting his teeth as a young teacher in the same school district close to 25 years ago, the new superintendent for Allegany-Limestone said his first official week has been more like coming home.
Giannicchi, who is referred to as Tony, spoke of his return to the school district with the Olean Times Herald this week. He left his position as principal at Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School for his current post, said his family plans to move to Allegany as soon as they sell their house in Ellicottville.
As a former social studies teacher and soccer coach for the school district from 1995 to 2004, Giannicchi knows a number of the Allegany-Limestone teachers and staff.
“I would say I know maybe half the staff, or a little less than that,” Giannicchi conjectured.
“One elementary teacher had my wife as a third-grade teacher,” he continued. “It was really neat when I saw one of my (former students) who is a now a bus driver. It was great seeing him.”
Similarly, he is also meeting parents in the district who were students during his former career in the district.
Not only is he returning to where he started his career, but where he met his future wife, Tiffany, who was a fellow teacher. He and his wife, who now serves as principal at the Delevan Elementary School in the Yorkshire-Pioneer Central School District, have three school-age daughters, Mia, Cara and Julianna, who currently attend the Ellicottville Central School District.
As for his plans for the job, Giannicchi said he expects the ongoing $17 million capital project will “take a big chunk of my time, but there’s some exciting stuff there.”
“You’re looking at something that is a great facility, and you’re adding what’s best for the kids,” he said of the middle-high school campus. “Right now, the taxes are going down and you get to protect that by adding to the infrastructure. You’re planning to make sure everything is being taken care of financially in the future.”
The project, which will provide upgrades, safety features and renovations at the middle-high school and elementary campus, will not impact the school district’s budgets as 74 percent of the funds will be reimbursed by state building aid.
As for the day-to-day work, Giannicchi said he is still “taking it all in” in regard to the staff, students, curriculum and programs.
“I have to figure things out and talk to a lot of people,” he continued. “To tell you the truth, I can’t sit still (in the office) for more than an hour or two before I have to go and walk around — I love it.”
As a member of an extended family of teachers, Giannicchi said his relatives are all proud of his new administrative post.
“My father is a teacher and my sister is a teacher, and my aunts and uncles are all teachers,” he noted.
He said his late grandfather, Vincenzo Giannicchi, was from Italy and was a big advocate of education and his children attending college to better themselves. This was important to his grandfather, as he had worked in the steel plant in Lackawanna for decades.
“That’s why I keep a piece of steel (from the plant) on my window” in the office, Giannicchi said while picking up the small chunk of steel. He said it reminds him of the importance of education.
Educators who recall Giannicchi from his first time at Allegany-Limestone include high school social studies teacher, Wade Savage.
“I do remember him from way back,” Savage said of Giannicchi. “We taught in the same department together … he’s down-to-earth.”
Another teacher, Jen Brooks, currently teaches special education, but had also worked with Giannicchi in the past.
“He and I used to teach together in the same classroom,” she recalled. “He’s definitely approachable and he is absolutely kids-first. And he’s genuine, that’s the nice thing about Tony.”
Kristin Colburn, who serves as secretary to Giannicchi, is also glad Giannicchi has come back to Allegany-Limestone.
“I think it will be a good fit,” she said of Giannicchi. “I think we’re in a good place and a good spot.”
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, OTHKate)