By Peter Jovanovich
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as your new superintendent,” said Dr. Eric Byrne at a reception held by the Rye City School District on March 7 at Rye Middle School. Byrne will succeed Dr. Brian Monahan, Interim Superintendent, beginning July 1 of this year.
In his opening remarks, Byrne expressed his dedication to “building on the current success of our of our schools while striving to identify avenues for growth and improvement.”
“As part of my entry plan,” Byrne continued, “I will invite members of the community, faculty, students, and staff to meet with me this summer in order to learn about the strengths and needs of our schools. Through hard work, creativity, strong instructional programs, and a commitment to continuous improvement, we will work together to provide the best possible experience and preparation for the children of Rye.”
As previously reported, Dr. Byrne has been an educator in public schools for 23 years, including high school science teacher, assistant principal and principal, and currently Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Chappaqua Central School District.
Rye City School Board president Katy Keohane Glassberg noted that the search process included over 40 candidates. “When we visited Chappaqua, one of Eric’s colleagues remarked: ‘Everyone knows that Eric is a vision guy, but he’s also the person who can plan and execute all the concrete steps to accomplish that vision.”’
Asked if there was one class he would like to teach today if he could, Byrne replied, “Literature. It meant a lot to me in my student days.”
Dr. Eric Byrne with his daughter Hannah and wife Andrea at the March 7 community gathering
By Gretchen Althoff Snyder
“In the spirit of the three remarkable scientists of the Bird family, we particularly wanted to encourage scientific curiosity in young people.”
This is a noteworthy year in Rye’s history: 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Meeting House. The Meeting House evolved from a schoolhouse to an Episcopal Sunday school when it was moved to 600 Milton Road in 1867. After the addition of the distinctive bell tower in 1877, the Meeting House became Grace Chapel (affiliated with Christ’s Church), and subsequently served for many years as a Quaker Meeting House. The City of Rye purchased the Meeting House in 2002, and acquired a grant for the property’s restoration, which commenced in 2005. Today, the building serves as a secular historic site and educational destination for all age groups.
The Bird Homestead, a historic and rare-surviving 19th-century farm complex along a tidal estuary, lies directly adjacent to the Meeting House. The property consists of a modest 1835 Greek revival house, an 1885 two-story barn, and a late 19th-century woodworking shop with an attached chicken coop. Henry Bird, the owner of the farm and patriarch of the family, was a prominent entomologist and President of the New York Entomological Society in the 1920s. His son Roland was an esteemed paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, and Roland’s younger brother Junius was an internationally known archeologist. The Bird family owned the homestead from 1852 until 2009, when it was purchased by the City of Rye; the following year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
By Tom McDermott
The Village of Port Chester Board of Trustees took a leap towards eventual approval of Starwood’s proposed 15-acre mixed-use development on the old United Hospital site on March 6 by approving a Statement of Finding. The Statement included several plan revisions regarding zoning, affordable housing, traffic mitigation, and a density bonus ($3 million) to be paid by the applicant.
The Rye Park and Environs Steering Committee, which represents residents of the area of Rye contingent to the site – Hillside Road, High Street, Ridge Street, Evergreen and Grandview avenues, and Boston Post Road – was represented at the meeting by Richard Smith. While Smith complimented the Board on the inclusion of a number of Committee recommendations, he noted several areas that needed the Board’s attention. In a letter dated that same day, the Committee asked for the following considerations among others: room for additional future mitigation steps already identified by engineers but not required in the Statement; intersections at Ridge and High streets, Hillside Road and BPR, and Purchase/Wappanoca/Ridge/Hillside should be included in the Post Implementation Study.
The Committee and the City of Rye are both deeply concerned that excess traffic from the site will flow onto High Street and the neighborhood. Consequently, both seek an agreement with Starwood that provides plans and adequate funds for traffic mitigation. Traffic is expected to increase by 30 percent along High Street; Smith also asked that trucks in excess of 5,000 pounds be prohibited due to noise and excessive turning radius.