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GENEVA — Mary Mantelli will leave her job as principal of St. Francis-St. Stephen’s School to return to the classroom as a sixth-grade English teacher in the Ithaca city school district.

Her successor is expected to be named in the next two weeks.

Mantelli, of Seneca Falls, has been principal of the Elmwood Avenue K-8 Catholic school since July 1, 2015. The Buffalo native earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees magna cum laude from SUNY Oswego. She taught at St. Mary’s School in Waterloo, St. John Bosco School in Seneca Falls and Immaculate Conception in Ithaca before becoming a fifth-grade teacher and middle school social studies teacher at St. Francis-St. Stephen in 2012.

She then succeeded Elaine Morrow as principal in 2015.

“I am delighted with my time here and love the parents, kids and the community. It’s bittersweet to leave. I look forward to my new job and will always look back at my time in Geneva fondly,” Mantelli said Friday.

In a recent letter to parents, friends and colleagues, she wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today to inform you that I will be leaving St. Francis-St. Stephen School. It has been such an honor and joy to serve this community as principal for the past four years and to teach here before that.

“It has been a difficult time for me personally and for my family as I have lived, slept, eaten and breathed nothing but school for the past four years. I have decided to return to teaching so that I can have my summers, school breaks, evenings and weekends back to spend with my husband and to visit my children.”

She said SFSS is a “healthy school, poised for growth.”

“Enrollment is stable, our budget is balanced and our parish subsidy is at the level proscribed by the diocese. In addition, many good things have happened in the building over the summer. I know you will all be very happy when you see the results of our renovation projects,” she said. “I want to assure you that my decision is in no way a reflection on the health of the school.”

Assuring that she will work for a smooth transition for her successor, Mantelli said she will always consider the school’s students, families, faculty and staff “as part of my extended family and will continue to be a strong supporter of our school.”

Her last day as principal will be Aug. 16 and she will aid in the transition process until Aug. 30.

In an Aug. 2 letter to SFSS school families and community members, Rev. Thomas Mull, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish, and Anthony Cook, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Rochester, wished Mantelli well and said a search for her successor began immediately in hopes of having a successor by next Friday. Bishop Salvatore Matano must give final approval to the hiring.

Mull said he would be announcing Mantelli’s departure at Masses over the weekend.

This article originally ran on fltimes.com.

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