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The Holland School Board named an interim superintendent at a special meeting this week, , while having to accept another high-profile resignation from the staff.
Sylvia Root, the former superintendent of the Potsdam School District, was appointed interim superintendent. Following her retirement in 2005, she served in an interim capacity in the Warren County, Little Valley and Oxford Central school districts.
An Arcade resident, Root said she was “excited to have the opportunity” to serve in Holland. She is filling in for Dennis Johnson who resigned July 31, six months prior to the end of his superintendent’s contract.
Her appointment was followed by the announcement of Missy Szczesniak’s resignation. The curriculum coordinator and guidance counselor this week accepted an administrative post in the Orchard Park School District.
Deeply involved with the Annual Professional Performance Review process in Holland, one school official said she was the “lead person” on the process. With state deadlines fast approaching and aid money in the balance, officials said Szczesniak has committed to complete as much of the preliminary work on the teacher-evaluation process as possible prior to her Sept. 12 start date in Orchard Park. In addition, she has agreed to return for the program’s rollout on Sept. 24.
In a related matter, former high school principal James Biryla, who also served as acting superintendent until Root was appointed, has agreed to postpone his retirement until Oct. 31.
Biryla announced his retirement in June, but with the exodus of the district’s elementary principal and the superintendent within weeks of each other, he agreed to help transition the new administrators.
With 32 years in Holland, Biryla called himself “a good asset to help bridge the gap,” and said he will stay on in a supervisor/mentor role.
Aside from helping the new principals at the elementary and high schools, he told the School Board he also was working with Szczesniak and getting a “crash course” in the teacher-evaluation process.