Tonawanda News — I remember first driving up to the complex at Hoover Elementary School in Kenmore when my oldest son was starting kindergarten eight years ago.
Being unfamiliar with the school, I didn't realize the elementary school and Hoover Middle School were connected, so I thought it was just one huge school.
This made me very concerned that my first born would get lost in the shuffle at a big school but as I soon learned, just the opposite was true.
Hoover Elementary School was and is a very welcoming community school where everyone knows each other.
All the teachers and staff know all the students from kindergarten on up to fifth grade. There is a real family atmosphere at the school.
On one occasion when we were out to dinner when my oldest was in first grade, a woman said hello to him by name in the restaurant. I asked him who she was and he replied that she was a second grade teacher at the school. Even though he hadn't had her as a teacher, she knew my son by name. I was very impressed.
One of the main reasons for the family atmosphere at the school is the school's leadership.
Principal Fran Paskowitz has been at the helm of the school for 21 years and knows all the students by name.
Mrs. Paskowitz, whose bright yellow sports car can be seen in the reserved parking space every day, is tough, energetic and passionate about her school which she is retiring from this year after nearly three decades in the Ken-Ton district.
As a parent, I had always found her to be approachable and fair in any dealings I had with her over the years.
The students love her and that is evident by the ones who were interviewed for our story on her retirement, claiming she was their "favorite principal."