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‘It's a complete breath of fresh air’: Nardin Academy expects positive school year

“The students seem energized. The teachers seem energized"
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Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 07, 2023

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Students at Nardin Academy in Buffalo returned to school this week for what leaders hope is the start of a positive new school year following a rocky previous school year that led to the resignation of its president.

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Nardin Academy High School students during a class on Thursday.

“It's a complete breath of fresh air, honesty,” declared Alex Lado, teacher.

Nardin Academy High School science teacher Alex Ladoski tells me he's feeling a positive wave through the school.

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Nardin Academy High School science teacher Alex Ladoski.

“The students seem energized. The teachers seem energized and we're just really looking to move forward from you know, everything that's happened over the last two years,” described Ladoski.

Students returned earlier this week ready to shake off the controversial previous school year, where a majority of students and faculty accused former president, Sandra Betters, of creating a “toxic environment”. It led to a student walk-out and protest. Betters finally resigned under pressure.

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Rebecca Reeder, interim president.

“I hope for many people, it's in the rearview mirror for them,” reflected Rebecca Reeder, interim president.

Former Nardin High School Principal Rebecca Reeder came out of retirement to serve as interim president, telling me she's working to return stability back to the school.

“To calm things down. Hopefully have people feel good about the school. Have it have a positive image within the community too and then to just stabilize finances, everything so that we feel like we're really on good footing,” Reeder commented.

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Outside Nardin Academy in Buffalo.

Enrollment slipped at the school to about 527 from an earlier number of about 764. But Reeder says it has since moved back up for the start of the new school year with 716 students.

“We aren’t at what our capacity could be,” explained Reeder. However, the school leader noted the administration office is still getting calls of interest and is giving tours. “That’s a charge to try and move it forward and get us to what we would consider to be full,” remarked Reeder.

Former leader Betters claimed she was working to create a more diverse school. But Reeder says that has always been a goal at Nardin.

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Nardin High School classroom.

“Every place has diversity kind of issues, and everybody's trying to work on it, and we are too we're not unlike lots of other places. And I think we're making strides in that. I hope we are,” said Reeder.

Betters has filed a lawsuit against the school accusing it of defamation and breach of contract.

Nardin houses more than 700 students in grades K--through 12, through its Montessori, middle and elementary, and all-girls high school.

“To be grounded in our history, but also continue to move forward and do everything we can to be very progressive about how we provide education to students,” noted Ladoski

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Nardin newsletter.

“Two moms this morning just said to me, that their children came home and told them it was the best first day of school they had had,” recalled Reeder.

Reeder has agreed to work one year as interim leader as a new board of trustees decides how it will move forward to select a new leader.