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Chelsea School Board Honors Battaglia; Review of a Good Year

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. The Chelsea Board of Education honored South Meadows Elementary School Principal Stacie Battaglia (in center) who is retiring.

By Crystal Hayduk

Tears flowed freely in a room full of supporters at the Chelsea School District (CSD) Board of Education meeting on June 10 as the district celebrated the work of Stacie Battaglia.

Battaglia is the outgoing principal of South Meadows (SM) Elementary School, who is retiring after 22 official (and 24 unofficial) years working in the district.  

Superintendent Mike Kapolka said he prepared a statement to read because he anticipated “…having a difficult time getting through this” as they “celebrate the phenomenal career … of a remarkable individual.”

In his presentation, Kapolka said Battaglia served as both a teacher and an administrator, exhibiting dedication, compassion, and professionalism. As a teacher, her classroom was a place where children learned and grew, in an environment where every child felt valued and supported.

As an administrator, “… she brought with her the same recipe of unwavering commitment to excellence while supporting growth and building her staff,” said Kapolka. Her advocacy made SM a place where students learn and thrive with a deep sense of belonging.

Districtwide, Battaglia has worked collaboratively with colleagues to enhance programming while nurturing mutual respect and support. Her positive attitude, enthusiasm, and care for others has made her a friend to all, he said. “Her legacy will continue to inspire us.”

In response, Battaglia addressed the board, administrative team, teachers, and the community. Laughter erupted when she opened with the anecdote that she and her husband bought a house in Dexter Township in 1996 thinking they were moving to Dexter. “We didn’t know anything about Chelsea or the Chelsea School District,” she said. But in time, Chelsea Schools became her second home.

She said she was grateful for every opportunity she has had, as well as the education her three children received. She thanked the current and past school boards for always keeping the best interests of the students topmost, even when decision-making was difficult.

Battaglia thanked her children’s teachers and athletic and extracurricular leaders. “The joyful memories that we shared as a family are many,” she said.

She encouraged the district’s administrative team, and reminded individuals of specific memories. She thanked her SM staff for making every day an adventure she has loved, for believing in her, for “… helping to create a place filled with happiness and joy for kids to learn and grow.”

Battaglia also thanked her family for their support, and her adult children for sharing her with hundreds of other children over the years.

At the close of her remarks, those present applauded her with a standing ovation.

(Read more about Battaglia’s retirement.)

Board President Kate Henson said she would like to remind the community that the district’s business goes on throughout the year, and that work happens in the summer even when students are not in school.

In his superintendent’s report, Kapolka said the School of Choice (SOC) window closed on June 5, and 70 applications were received. If all 70 students end up being selected and choosing to attend CSD, it would bring SOC student enrollment to 8.5% of the 10% cap set by board policy.

He thanked the entire district staff for their dedication that has led to a successful 2023-24 school year. A short list of some of the “wins” of the year include an updated website and updates to the technology infrastructure, the creation of critical incident maps, approval of a new strategic plan, CHS participation rates in athletics and extracurriculars at CHS, growth in numbers for the Classes of 2037 and 2038, and positive outcomes in mental health programs.

Board members Glenn Fox and Michelle Craig were absent.

A videorecording of the school board meeting is available for viewing here. Battaglia’s presentation and response run from timestamp 2:40 to 16:50. Kapolka’s full list of positive reflections of the school year run from timestamp 20:00 to 24:55.

Upcoming dates:

There will be a Policy Committee Hearing at 1 p.m. on June 20 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center (WSEC).

The next school board meeting, with a budget hearing, will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 24 in the board room at WSEC. 

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