Scott Lake Principal Arrested for Child Pron

Scott Lake Elementary principal John Stelmack was charged this morning with five counts of possessing child pronography*.

In the Ledger’s story, reporter John Chambliss wrote:

Joan Thomas, Stelmack’s replacement in Orchard Park, N.Y **., said the school district there never received any sexual-related complaints about him….

Another time, parents accused Stelmack of not taking any action against a bus driver who was charged with possession of child pronography in his home, Thomas said.

Parents were furious, Thomas said.

“He (Stelmack) didn’t do anything wrong but didn’t do enough,” Thomas said.

It looks like things happened quickly in New York. That bus driver was arrested on Monday, February 27, 2006. Guess what happened on Tuesday? Here are the minutes from that day’s Orchard Park Central School District Board of Education Work Session (doc) ***:

Mrs. Thomas read the following statement: “On Monday, February 27, Keith Fisher, President of Fisher Bus Service, notified the district that one of their drivers was arrested for allegedly possessing child pronography…..

The arrested driver has serviced bus runs at Ellicott Elementary, the middle and the high school. Mr. Fisher also reported that the driver resigned from the company on Monday.

In that same meeting, the board resolved “upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, approve the following resignation” John Stelmack, Elementary Principal, Ellicott Elementary, effective 6/30/06

Also from that night: “Mrs. Thomas acknowledged Mr. Jack Stelmack is resigning as the principal of Ellicott Elementary. Mrs. Thomas thanked Mr. Stelmack for his service to the District.”

The driver is arrested on Monday, and Tuesday Stelmack resigns? Thomas is quoted as saying Stelmack “didn’t do enough.” In one day? I wonder what he did do? Did he work the rest of the school year, or did they just pay him for the time?

* – That is intentionally misspelled.

** – The Ledger said Thomas was Stelmack’s replacement, and is now the school board Superintendent. According to those minutes she was the superintendent at the time.

*** – Typos fixed 12/22

After the jump is Stelmack’s autobiography written while at Scott Lake:


Stelmack’s autobiography formerly at the Scott Lake Elementary website:

I grew up in Western New York where I received my Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia. While teaching for 15 years in the Elmira City School District, I received my Masters Degree in Educational Psychology from Elmira College in Elmira, New York. As a teacher, I served as a Unit Leader in an Individually Guided Education School that strived to meet the needs of every child. Later, I taught in the Gifted/Talented Program that accepted students from several area school districts. I then obtained my Permanent Certification in School District Leadership and Administration from St. Bonnaventure University in Olean, New York. My first administrative duty was that of an Assistant High School Principal in Olean. After two years as an Assistant Principal, I was rewarded with an assignment as a Principal of East View ES in Olean. I have served as an Elementary Principal for the past five years prior to accepting the position here at Scott Lake Elementary. As a building principal, I have always established high expectations for both students and staff. Through continual efforts monitoring, adjusting, diagnosing and evaluating, we not only achieved our academic goals, but also surpassed them. During my last administrative assignment, I introduced a positive behavioral intervention and support program to the staff, students, and parents in my school. As a result of this program, the school was recognized by the State of New York as an outstanding model school. My expectations at Scott Lake are to continue to improve our standing as an excellent school by meeting the instructional needs of every student. This can be done through a “team” approach in which everyone, the administration, teachers, students and parents are all accountable. In this way, we can all celebrate our contributions to the gift of learning.

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