South Side Elementary School principal retiring
After 41 years in the education field, South Side Elementary School Principal James Pallygus is calling it quits at the end of the school year — at least with Connellsville Area School District.
Pallygus graduated from Connellsville High School and obtained an education degree from Waynesburg College and a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
He has worked as elementary schools for 33 years, including a two-year stint as principal at Connellsville Township Elementary School and the last six years as South Side Elementary School principal.
In the summers of 1970 to 1976, Pallygus served as the head start director at Zachariah Connell Elementary School.
For the first 25 years of his education career, Pallygus was an officer and building representative in Connellsville Area Education Association and served on the negotiating team for three contracts, including the 1967 teacher contract negotiations that led to the first teacher strike in the Connellsville Area School District.
While he has spent the majority of his life living in Connellsville, he recently moved to the Scottdale area.
Pallygus said he decided to go into the education field because he enjoyed talking and interacting with students.
“This is the reason I enjoy teaching and talking to all students,” he said. “I like to see the sparkle in a student’s eyes as you teach and talk to them about their school work and their lives. Students share so many ideas as they discuss their interest and dreams — you just have to take time to listen.”
Pallygus decided to retire now because he is satisfied with the career he’s had to this point.
“Now, I am ready to close this chapter and move to the next chapter of my career and life,” he said.
His first priority is to spend some leisure time enjoying golfing, biking, fishing, running and hunting.
“I will continue to be active in education,” Pallygus said. “This may lead into some type of occupation at the college level.”
But there will be a few things that Pallygus will and won’t miss.
“I will miss all the activities with students, teachers, parents and people I try to assist every day, but I’m looking forward to not having to deal with the pressure and stress of the everyday needs of an elementary school and the difficult curriculum students and teachers work with every day.”
District Superintendent James Duncan said he remembers Pallygus as a classroom teacher.
“He taught at the upper elementary level for a number of years before becoming a principal, and as a teacher, he had the respect of his students and co-workers,” Duncan said. “His care and concern for all students were evident as he prepared lessons and taught each day.”
Duncan added that as principal, Pallygus worked closely with his staff, supporting educational activities and functions that best served the students in his building.
“Unfortunately, Connellsville Area School District will be losing many talented and dedicated staff members this year due to retirement,” Duncan said.