New leadership at St. James school
by Jessyca Cardinell
St. James School will have a new friendly face as its Principal this school year, as Clara Cummings of Gouverneur has made the difficult decision to step down from her position for a different employment opportunity at the reopening mines. Michele Lallier of Gouverneur has excitedly been named the new Principal for St. James School and will actively start her duty this school year.
“I believe St. James has made a terrific choice in hiring Michele Lallier, she seems to me the perfect fit,” said Mrs. Cummings.
St. James has been a huge part of Mrs. Cummings life. She is an alumnus of the school, and has served as principal for the last four years.
“St. James to me, as a community member, provides a choice for our children and our community to be educated in an environment that is not mandated by New York State. Where we have the freedom to provide kids with the curriculum that they need, but we can also provide them with an extension of their home, where we include their families in everything we do. A place where parents have a say in the child's daily activities. As a parent, to me, I value St. James because it's not just teaching my children how to be good students, but as well faith filled, to be hard working, to use good manners and have strong morals. The most important thing to me as a parent is that my children grow up to be good people who love God.”
She also stated that many of the friends she made as a student at St. James are still her friends to this day. She attributes it to the Godly family environment that St. James provides.
Mrs. Cummings, stated she will still be very active and a part of St. James School, which is very important to her.
“I am going to be helping with the transition of the new principal and be here throughout the upcoming school year as a mentor. As well I will be on the education counsel and I will continue to the Chairperson for the Curriculum Committee. I will be a volunteer for various after school clubs and activities. I keep telling people I'll be here so much they won't even know I'm gone,” said Mrs. Cummings, who was Principal at St. James for four years.
“What I have loved most about my time as St. James Principal is the children and their families. Being able to interact with them everyday is the reason I came to St. James, but honestly they have taught me so much about myself, about being a parent and also about the Holy Spirit and how it works through people when we least expect it. I love being in an environment everyday where we can talk about Jesus and pray together in good times and in bad. Our school has seen some sad times this year, but being able to take that and show children that it's okay to cry, it's okay to pray to God and model that with them has probably been the greatest gift for me to share that love of God with our families,” said Mrs. Cummings.
“This new employment opportunity is something I feel strongly about for the community as well. The reopening of the mines, which is called Empire State Mines now. When I was presented with this opportunity, it was a very difficult decision to leave St. James, but it's more about being a part of that project which will benefit our local community greatly. It's exciting to be a part of that, since I was previously employed there it made that decision that much more enticing to see it open back up and be part of that,” said Cummings.
Mrs. Michele Lallier, has resided with her husband, a St. James School alumnus, in Gouverneur since 2010 after moving back to the area from Michigan.
Mrs. Lallier brings with her an extensive teaching background which started in 1992 and a strong education, attending SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego, as well as obtaining her Masters Degree in Business Education at a college in Detroit. This degree would be focused in high school business or accounting classes.
Mrs. Lallier is excited for the new journey and opportunity as St. James Principal.
“As we moved back to New York, I was not able to teach since I was not certified in New York State to teach,” said Mrs. Lallier. “This position for me, is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the students, to work with them and the school environment. It's something I've really been missing since we moved back here.”
Mrs. Lallier had a previous teaching position in Michigan as a Catholic School teacher for five years which she loved. Teaching in the Catholic School environment is something very dear to her.
When it comes to her qualities which will help in the St. James School environment, Mrs.Lallier stated she is, “faithful, a good communicator, friendly and outgoing.”
“I hope to build onto the sense of community that's already been established here,” she said. “I look forward to meeting all the families that belong to St. James, as well as working with the teachers and the students.”
Good luck and best wishes to Mrs. Clara Cummings and Mrs. Michele Lallier on their new opportunities in our community.