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After 22 years, Learn leaves Odessa school board

ODESSA-MONTOUR—As of the end of June, Alice Aliec LearnLearn’s 22 years on the Odessa-Montour board of education will be over.
Learn said she is stepping down early from her position on the board, where she is currently board president, because she is also the assistant superintendent for the Horseheads School District.  Learn said she  does not have enough time for both anymore.  She has held the position at Horseheads for two years now.  Before that, Learn began her career in education working at Watkins Glen for 25 years.  She started as the home and career skills teacher, and eventually became the department head and also interim dean of students.  After that she worked for BOCES.
Learn said when she first ran for the board of education both of her children were students in the district, having now graduated in 2000 and 2004.  She said she remembers being in her mother-in-law’s kitchen when someone stopped by and wanted to know if any member of the Learn family would run for a position on the school board.  She ran against five others and won.  Learn recalls sometimes being the only woman on the board and at “meet the candidates” she would say the board needed a “mother.”
One of the things that has changed since she first started is how late board meetings would end in the 1980s.  The board of education used to meet twice a month and Learn said she would sometimes not get home until 11 p.m.
She has seen the board, and school, progress with the times.  In addition to the board being paperless, reports are submitted electronically, the technology has also expanded.  Even at the board meetings, administrators do presentations on the Promethean ActivBoards.  Learn said staff is more focused on accountability if students fail and what teachers need to do.
One thing she will not miss is dealing with two school budgets at the same time.  Learn said the board used to spend many hours on budget development before Odessa-Montour hired Greg Dale, business administrator.  Especially in the past the board had to have a 20 percent tax increase; she explained it would have been 50 percent, but Congressman Randy Kuhl helped provide funds to make the increase smaller.
Learn said what she has learned over 22 years on Odessa’s school board will help her at Horseheads, even if the districts are different sizes. 
 



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