The Lancaster School Board did not conduct an extensive search before appointing a new superintendent Monday night because board members felt the best possible replacement for retiring Superintendent Edward J. Myszka already works in the district office.
The board voted, 7-0, to promote Michael J. Vallely Jr., the assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and pupil personnel services, to the superintendent’s position, effective July 1, after praising him for his work to raise academic standards within the district.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be a great opportunity,” Vallely, 43, said in a brief interview after the board meeting in the former Central Avenue Elementary School, where his appointment prompted a standing ovation from members of the audience and the School Board.
Vallely, who started with the district in 2006, will earn $175,000 per year in the first year of his five-year contract, with 3 percent raises for each of the last four years on the agreement, board President Kenneth Graber said after the vote.
Graber said the board did not interview anyone else prior to negotiating a contract with Vallely because members were convinced of Vallely’s fitness for the job, and the board didn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a search for an outside candidate.
“Why waste the money?” Graber told The Buffalo News.
Vallely will replace Myszka, a 46-year district veteran who has served as superintendent since 2007 and announced at the Jan. 14 School Board meeting that he would step down at the end of this school year.
Myszka privately informed board members in November that he planned to retire this summer, and the board has discussed its plans for his replacement during a series of executive sessions over the past few months, Graber said in an interview.
Graber noted the board took the same approach of promoting from within when its members appointed Myszka to the top job six years ago.
Monday’s board agenda included an item titled “appointment of superintendent,” but the accompanying meeting documents did not provide details on what action the board planned to take.
Graber told the audience that the board moved quickly to find Myszka’s replacement because members wanted to ensure “continuity” for the district.
“I just wanted to tell you that you got this right,” said Joseph L. Maciejewski, a former School Board member who serves as Erie County’s director of real-property tax services.
Board members settled on a contract for Vallely after looking at the salaries paid to superintendents of school districts of similar size, said board member Brenda Christopher, who praised Vallely’s appointment. Myszka was slated to earn $177,000 in the 2013-14 school year, Graber said.
Vallely joined the Lancaster district in 2006 as director of secondary curriculum and instruction, and was named to his current position later in the same year.
In that job, Vallely oversees the education of more than 6,000 students, supervises 525 or so professional staff and 19 administrators, and manages about 72 percent of the district’s $91 million budget, according to the district.
The Kenmore native served as principal of Southwestern High School in Jamestown from 2003 to 2006 and began his educational career at a school in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he taught English grammar and composition to students preparing for high school and college in this country.