Tonawanda News

August 29, 2012

TCSD school chief retires

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — With just a week to go until school begins, City of Tonawanda Superintendent Whitney Vantine announced his retirement at Tuesday’s board meeting. His last day will be Oct. 17. 

Vantine didn’t offer board members a reason for his retirement following a closed-door session after the meeting, and according to Board President Jackie Smilinich, the board unanimously accepted his submission. 

Smilinch said the district will conduct a search to replace Vantine and they are hoping they will find a replacement before his departure. 

However, the board hadn’t known about Vantine’s retirement for very long. 

“It came about very quickly,” Smilinich said. Quickly enough it wasn’t included on the board’s meeting agenda.

Vantine was hired in July 2008. Prior to his hire date, Vantine was a superintendent for four other districts, and most recently he served as the superintendent of Cold Spring Harbor Schools in Long Island. Before that, he was the top administrator in Lewiston-Porter, a position that was tarred by negative relationships with some school board members. 

Vantine is a Hamburg native, and was excited to come back to the area to work in the area four years ago.

Under Vantine’s tenure here, City of Tonawanda residents passed the capital project — an $11.9 million project to improve and add facilities to schools in the district. 

The massive project includes the controversial closing of Clint Small Stadium, which has served as the iconic center for the district’s football program, as well as the addition of a music wing and some construction on elementary schools’ roofs. The project is already somewhat delayed, but the contractors are hoping to break ground on the new stadium in early March. 

So although Vantine is retiring before his contract is up in 2014, his work will likely be seen on the football field — and elsewhere — for years to come. 

“I certainly wish him well in his retirement,” board member Demelt Shaw said. “Being the superintendent of any district isn’t an easy job, with cutting the staff, APPR, the limited budget...I myself wouldn’t want to be in his position. It’s a very difficult position.” 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.