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John Carayiannis

Man wearing tinted glasses, dark jacket and tie

John Carayiannis

A respected principal at Tanglewood Elementary School, John Carayiannis led the school from its opening in the late 1960s until his retirement in 1991.

John was an active supporter of the SGF Marathon Dance since its inception, and continued even after his own children had graduated.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, John served as an aircraft mechanic and interpreter in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. After that, he graduated from Paul Smith’s College and then attended the University of Montana-Missoula, before receiving his bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1958. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Administration from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1968.

John began his career in education in Chestertown, as a fifth-grade teacher, before taking a position in the South Glens Falls School District. He taught for several years at the district’s Gansevoort and Spring Street schools before being appointed as the first principal at Tanglewood Elementary School in 1968.

After his retirement, he was elected to the school board, and served until his death in 2000. He also served on the WSWHE BOCES Board of Education.

John’s daughter, Eustacia, said of her father, “My first year teaching special education at South Glens Falls was at Tanglewood. I was fortunate enough to have my dad give a presentation to the sixth graders about Greece.

“In the past, when new teachers were hired, they were taken on a school bus tour around the district. Dad enjoyed being the ‘tour guide’ for this excursion, pointing out where the original schools were and how the district had changed over the years. He loved this school district!”

John enjoyed woodworking, camping, traveling and cooking, and for many years was involved with Boy Scout Troop 9. John was also a member of the South Glens Falls United Methodist Church Men’s Fellowship.

His son, Gus, said of his father, “I think it is fair to say he was a well-respected leader who never sought to be recognized, and in fact would probably be very uncomfortable to be nominated over many others who have served our school and community so well and with great distinction. For the all the years he volunteered at SHMD, he didn’t get up in front of the crowds and students, but would sweep the gym floor when the dancers left on break, took out trash when containers were full, got donations that I believe were used as prizes for the dancers, and generally stayed behind the scenes doing whatever he saw that needed to be done.

John and his late wife, Irene, had three children: Gus, Andrew and Eustacia.”

He and his wife, Karen, had one daughter, Elizabeth. The grandchildren are Katina and Emily Carayiannis, Amanda and Amy Sander, and Noah, Zoe, Karl, John, Jake and Zeke Lanfear.