2007-08-30 / News

Lukon ready to challenge kids at all levels

By Donna K. Drago

Marcia Lukon, Ph.D. Marcia Lukon, Ph.D. Jamestown's new head of schools didn't have too much of a retirement. Instead of relaxing by the pool, or working in her garden, Marcia Lukon, Ph.D., jumped directly into a new part-time position with the Jamestown School District. Her official last day of work for the Berlin-Boylston Regional district is tomorrow, but Lukon already has two weeks under her belt at the island schools.

In her prior post, for four years, Lukon managed a district comprised of two towns in central Massachusetts with two K to 6 schools and a combination middle and high school. In all, she supervised some 1,200 students- about twice the number in Jamestown. Before that she was the school chief in Norfolk, Mass., which has about 1,100 students. In her 32 years as an educator, Lukon has also been a curriculum director, an elementary principal and a classroom teacher. "I've taught grades 1, 2, 3 and 5 as a classroom teacher," Lukon said, adding that she had also taught grades 4 to 8 in a gifted and talented program and grades K to 6 in remedial education.

Gifted and talented kids are an area Lukon is especially eager to work with in Jamestown.

While, "I believe in all the goals of NCLB," Lukon said, she noted the importance of challenging the brightest children. "We can't waste talent," Lukon said.

She said that the pilot program of Virtual High School, which will begin in the fall, is geared to very bright students who need a challenge. Admission to the program is by selection, and students take on-line courses and receive a final grade.

Lukon said learning to navigate on-line courses is important because there are so many more online offerings at the college level. "They'll be better prepared," Lukon said about the students.

She is also excited that there is special education help at every grade level in Jamestown. "There's a wealth of support for students who need it," Lukon said.

Her first days on the island have been pleasant, Lukon said.

"Everyone is friendly and welcoming," she said, and added, "Everyone smiles."

She noted that the "School Committee is very positive," and there is a "different sort of attitude," in Jamestown among all staff, faculty and parents, who "are very involved."

Lukon said she is very excited about the administrative team, which includes a new director of pupil services, a new aspiring principal, and Principal Kathleen Almanzor.

"This is a great team to provide leadership," for the island schools, Lukon said.

Lukon purchased a "fixer-upper," house in Charlestown prior to her retirement decision and was delighted when the posting for the Jamestown superintendency came up.

She said she was familiar with Jamestown because she is a scuba diver, but she did some more research on the island and decided to apply.

When she is not being an educator, Lukon is a serious diver and world traveler. She combines both loves on vacations and has recently been diving in Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia, she said. Lukon also loves all water sports and does a lot of kayaking, canoeing as well as camping and skiing.

She is single, with two grown children. Joshua is the vice president of a software firm in Boston and Holly is a massage therapist in Worcester, Mass

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