Karen Ganjon showed off her new school to her former boss yesterday, taking state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick on a tour of Swansfield Elementary School.
"We miss her, but we're happy she is here," Dr. Grasmick said of Ms. Ganjon, Swansfield's new principal. "This is where the real work is done."
Dr. Grasmick and Ms. Ganjon worked together for three years in the state Department of Education, where Ms. Ganjon directed programs designed to help schools considered to be failing.
When Ms. Ganjon said goodbye to her position with the state last summer, Dr. Grasmick promised that she would visit her in her new job. Yesterday was the day.
Walking through every classroom, Dr. Grasmick often stopped at pupils' desks to ask about what they were working on. "There's a sense of community and excitement about learning that is remarkable," she said.
During her tour, Dr. Grasmick was given homemade books from nine classes, a bouquet of flowers from kindergartners, a corsage and a swan pin representing the school. After hearing some of the students in Swansfield's orchestra perform, Dr. Grasmick pledged to invite them to perform at a state education-related event.
Both students and teachers were eager to talk to Dr. Grasmick. Kindergartners even swarmed around to give her a group hug, nearly knocking her over.
"It's neat. She's in charge of all the schools and she came to see us," said fourth-grader Brandi Groglio, 9.
Ms. Ganjon also appeared touched by the visit. "I respect [Dr. Grasmick] so much, and I was so happy that she had such a wonderful day today," Ms. Ganjon said. "She saw how the school is meeting the needs of the kids."