GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — Wednesday morning on Wake Up, we were able to sit down with Grand Island Central School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Graham.

Dr. Graham, who says he’s “thrilled” that the restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are fading away, talked about the coming school year, with students arriving in less than a week.

The school district is welcoming in 20 new teachers, but there are still some spots to fill. Dr. Graham says they’re looking for an auto mechanic, as well as substitute teachers and bus drivers.

Overall, he believes the district could do a better job in its recruiting efforts. For instance, being more proactive.

On the positive side of things, Dr. Graham shared how older students are helping younger ones adjust to middle school. It’s the goal of a program called “Where Everybody Belongs.” This year-long transition program gives every incoming sixth grader an eighth-grade mentor.

Through this program, Dr. Graham says 30 to 32 eighth graders are trained to be mentors to the younger students.

“Our mission is to inspire all students to achieve their greatest potential through academic excellence, personal growth and social responsibility,” Dr. Graham said. “To achieve that mission, it’s all about positive relationships.”

Hear more about how Grand Island is preparing for the new year, and the alumnus whom Dr. Graham would recommend as the new Bills punter in the video above.

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Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor who came back home to Buffalo in 2018. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.