skip to main content

Tri-State Report


Code of Conduct


Board of Education Appointments

Board Appoints new and MSHS Principal and PQ Assistant Principal


At the North Salem Board of Education meeting on July 10, 2017, Mr. Vince DiGrandi was appointed to the MSHS principal position and Dr. Stephanie Bell was appointed to the position of PQ Assistant Principal.


Mr. DiGrandi comes to us from the Mahopac Central School District were he is the tenured principal of Mahopac Middle School. Prior to that, Mr. DiGrandi served as principal in Fishkill Plains Elementary School and Wappinger Junior High School, Assistant Principal at John Jay, and served as an elementary teacher in Westport, CT


Dr. Bell comes to us from the Wooster School in Danbury were she served as the Head of the Lower School, and the Head of  both the Prospect and Bridge Programs.  Prior to her work at the Wooster School, Dr. Bell was an Assistant Principal in the Rockland BOCES and has 18 years of elementary teaching experience in New York school districts including Rye City and Katonah-Lewisboro.


At the June 21, 2017 Board of Education Meeting, the North Salem MSHS Science teacher and Department Head, Dr. Kathleen Murphy, was appointed as the new  MSHS Assistant Principal and earlier in the spring, PQ Assistant Principal Mr. Julio Vasquez was appointed as our new Director of Instruction and HR.  


The appointments today complete the selection process for our new administrators.  All four will be in positions this summer, before the opening of schools in September.

Seniors, and Administrators, Graduate

Seniors, and Administrators, Graduate photo

Despite an initial rained-out ceremony, North Salem High School’s class of 2017 was all smiles during the June 21 rescheduled affair at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah.

The school’s 55th annual commencement ceremony kicked off with a processional to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” courtesy of the high school band.

The four senior members of the Madrigals – Aidan Gerard, Sarah Rossi, Jake Wildhorn and Jack Zimmer, sang the National Anthem before retiring Principal Dr. Patricia Cyganovich welcomed all to the ceremony and introduced salutatorian Michael Selzer.

In his address, Selzer pointed out that social media encourages self-promotion among his peers and often leads to an unrealistic image.

“And we do this, not searching for happiness, but instead pursuing the approval of others,” he said, encouraging his peers to “live beyond the scope of Snapchat.”

“If you can live your life in pursuit of happiness, instead of approval, then go out and find that happiness,” Selzer concluded.

Before each graduate enjoyed a moment of celebration as they walked across the stage to collect their diploma, the class was officially certified by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Freeston and Board of Education President Ms. Carolyn Aversano.

Dr. Cyganovich also listed the many awards that seniors have earned this year, and with the help of Assistant Principal Dr. George Bovino, presented a number of additional awards to seniors on stage.

Valedictorian Stephanie Blackwood earned a laugh from the audience when she summed up the last 13 years of her peers’ education as, “Stuff happened and now it is over.”

She went on to encourage her fellow graduates to “embrace your passions and define yourself and your successes in any way you please.”

In her final remarks as principal, Dr. Cyganovich spoke on behalf of herself and Dr. Bovino, who will also retire at the end of the school year. She shared a video highlighting some of the things that make the school and local North Salem community a special place, drawing inspiration from New York Yankee Derek Jeter’s recent tribute to New York.

“Thank you, North Salem, for asking a lot of us so we could ask a lot of others,” she said. “Because the truth is, no matter where you go in the world, when a place feels like home as North Salem does to us, you never really leave. It will always be with you.” 


MISSION MONDAY: Tri-State Takes a Look

MISSION MONDAY: Tri-State Takes a Look Photo

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

The North Salem Central School District played host to a team of administrators and teachers from the Tri-State Consortium for a three-day visit from April 26 – 28.

In its efforts to engage students to continuously learn, question, define and solve problems through critical and creative thinking, the district has engaged in collaborative efforts with the Tri-State Consortium and EdLeader21 Consortium to answer the following two questions.  

1.    To what degree is the Mission having an impact on students in and out of the classroom?
2.    To what degree are Mission-linked instruction and learning embedded in the culture of the district?                   

Answers to these questions will help the district continue to improve its work with students in preparing them to be problem-solvers, decision-makers and innovators for life.

View highlights from the visit in the below video.

Seniors Embrace Real World Experience

Seniors Embrace Real World Experience Photo

Seniors at North Salem Middle/High School presented the culminations of their Opportunities for Professional Training In-and-Out of North Salem, or O.P.T.I.O.N.S., during a special exhibition on June 6.

The district welcomed professionals from the community to evaluate students’ presentations and ask them questions about their experiences in environments in and out of the district, under the supervision of their teachers, administrators and professional mentors. 

Students’ experiences touched a wide range of industries, from scientific research, veterinary medicine, civil engineering, app creation, aquarium installation, finance, sports entertainment and dentistry, to name a handful.

Rebecca Collins found she did not have to look further than Pequenakonck Elementary School to find a qualified mentor for her project. She worked alongside occupational therapist Elyssa Yablow at the school to learn about the requirements of the job.

Jake Leicht traveled to Manhattan to complete his work with the firm Tendy Law. He noted in his presentation that both his parents are experienced lawyers and he thought it wouldn’t be a profession that would interest him.

“I thought it would be boring and uninteresting to me, but I was wrong,” he said, going on to praise the professionals he worked with, including his mentor Sheila Tendy. “They gave everything to me in an accessible way. It was a great experience.”


Honoring Administrative Retirees

Honoring Administrative Retirees Photo

Three administrators who have dedicated their lives to education and the North Salem Central School District community marked their retirements at a special celebration on May 31.

Dr. Mike Hibbard, who has served as assistant superintendent for instruction and human resources in the district for a decade, will retire at the end of the school year. His career in education spans 40 years.

Additionally, North Salem Middle/High School Principal Dr. Patricia Cyganovich and Assistant Principal Dr. George Bovino, who have served the district for 30 years, will retire on June 30.

The retirement celebration, held at Old Salem Farm, allowed colleagues and friends to congratulate the trio. Also in attendance at the celebration was Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, who presented each retiree with a proclamation thanking them for their service. They also received certificates of appreciation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

Photos courtesy of Halston Media

Being Friendly with Four-Legged Friends

Being Friendly with Four-Legged Friends Photo

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, and earlier this year, PQ’s ONE CUB Kindness Initiative made some new four-legged friends when they visited Our Farm Equine Rescue in North Salem. The visit was part of ONE CUB’s expansion to include teaching students about kindness toward pets and animals.

The ONE CUB team decided to use recycling money from bottles/cans donated by students, families, faculty and staff to make a donation to the facility to help feed the rescued horses, as they wait to be adopted and find a forever home. Sharon Kress, the Rescue founder, provided an informative, guided tour and introduced GiGi, Sadie, Harry, Obie and Nugget – the horses she rescued and is currently rehabilitating. Gazing into the expressive eyes of the beautiful animals, the team knew they had to do something to help this most worthy cause.

The team rallied the troops at PQ and sent a letter home to families announcing the project and asking for bottle donations. The response was overwhelming! On May 5, Ms. Kress came to PQ to receive a card containing $220 to help with horse expenses. Lisa Finer and Britt Togonon, PQ paraprofessionals and ONE CUB co-founders, recycled 4,400 bottles and cans over three months to raise this amazing sum.

Kress commented, “Thanks again! We are so appreciative and proud to be a recipient of this program. I am so proud of and impressed by your students. Great job!”

In addition to recycling, a bulletin board was created in PQ’s front hallway, which highlighted a different horse each month in hopes of getting one of them adopted. Greeting all those who enter the building were photos of each “horse of the month” along with what is known of the horse’s history.

Taking care of horses is a big responsibility, and the students in Mrs. Donofrio’s kindergarten class watched, “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Pets” and learned that taking care of and being kind to any pet (large or small) is an important job. The young learners took turns sharing how they take care of their pets at home. 

“We encourage the community to continue supporting this non-profit organization in any way possible. The farm offers after-school enrichment programs and has a Facebook page and website ( detailing all the ways North Salem can help our four-legged neighbors,” Finer and Togonon said in a joint statement. “They will also be at the Old Salem Farm horse show with information about their organization. Together, we can find these beautiful animals a forever home.”

ONE CUB would like to thank PQ’s students, families, and co-workers for bringing in bottles to help the cause. Keep those bottles coming, and we’ll keep recycling to raise funds to spread kindness around our community!

ONE CUB’s mission is to empower students with the knowledge that they can make a difference in our world through kindness, communication, citizenship, problem solving, and celebrating the differences in us all.  It all starts with ONE CUB!

MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

View the below video to see our amazing journey to create a Mission for all students!

Chase University River Central School District