Ex-teacher elected to Batavia school board

  • John Dryden

    John Dryden

  • Cathy Dremel

    Cathy Dremel

  • Christopher Lowe

    Christopher Lowe

Updated 4/7/2015 11:17 PM

Former Batavia High School social studies John Dryden, who was disciplined famously over advice he gave his students about their Constitutional rights, won election to the school board Tuesday.

Incumbent Melanie Impastato, who was appointed to the board in 2013, lost, according to unofficial results.


With all precincts reporting, Dryden had the most votes, with 2,388. Board president Cathy Dremel had 1,773 and Christopher Lowe had 1,675.

Lowe noted that only about 18 percent of voters cast ballots.

"I would like to see if we can get in contact with the other 82 percent" to see what they need and expect of the school board, Lowe said.

Three, 4-year seats were up for election.

The winners were followed, in order, by Bill Gabriel, Michelle Olache and Ron Rechenmacher, who ran as the GROBatavia slate; then Ellen Knautz, then Impastato.

Dryden retired in the fall from being a social studies teacher at Batavia High School. He gained international attention in 2013 when he was disciplined for, among other things, reminding his students that they had a Constitutional right against self-incrimination before administering a school-mandated nonconfidential survey of students' social practices, including drug and alcohol use. Dremel is wrapping up her first term on the board and is the most experienced board member. Dealing with the possible decrease in state funding to the district, the potential of having to pay more of the contribution to teachers' retirements, the cost of unfunded mandates from the state and the required implementation of PARCC standardized testing were hot topics for her.

Lowe, a stay-at-home parent, said his experience as an architect would be useful as the district examines its capital projects.

Dryden, Dremel and Lowe were endorsed by the Batavia Education Association teachers union. The union paid for yard signs for all three.

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