Tonawanda News

The Town

January 16, 2014

Ken-Ton superintendent to retire

Tonawanda News — Superintendent Mark Mondanaro has announced that he will retire on July 31 after seven years with the Ken-Ton School District.

“For a few years now, my wife and I have had the opportunity to raise our two wonderful grandchildren,” Mondanaro said in a statement he read during Tuesday night’s board meeting. “But as I honestly reflect, I can see the time has come to retire from at least a full-time job.”

Mondanaro was hired in July 2007 after five years as the superintendent for the LaFayette School District near Syracuse. He has led the Ken-Ton School District amid declining state aid and enrollment. Board President Bob Dana spoke to his leadership during tough financial times.

“Three years ago, we had a $13 million deficit that we were able to close without cutting the life out of the district,” Dana said. “We got through it, it was difficult, but we made it.”

Mondanaro has also overseen a district school consolidation project. The district is expected to announce whether it will close any schools this spring. Mondanaro stressed consolidation is likely necessary.

“The unquestionable sustainability issues our school district has were seeded long before I became your superintendent. They’ve been exasperated in this changed economy, and they will eventually lead to a marginalized experience for our students, staff and parents if not addressed after I am gone,” he said. 

Dana said he accepted the retirement notice with great regret.

“Anyone that knows him and his dedication to this school district knows what he has done for the community,” he said. “We are going to miss him. They will be difficult shoes to fill.”

Dana, Vice President Stephen Brooks and Stephen Bovino, assistant superintendent for human resources, are beginning to develop the process for the search for the new superintendent.

Dana said they will first interview firms that search for candidates.

“As the process goes along, we will then include every stakeholder group in the selection of the new superintendent,” he said.

If a replacement is not named before Mondanaro’s retirement the district will likely appoint an interim superintendent to manage affairs, generally the superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.

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