The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Board of Education on Monday introduced Dawn Mirand, superintendent of Mount Morris Central School District, as Ken-Ton’s next superintendent, effective Aug. 1.
“I am thrilled to continue on the great work that has been started here and I look forward to a bright future making good decisions always for the best interests of our students,” she said in brief remarks to the board.
The vote was unanimous, 4-0, with Board Vice President Stephen G. Brooks absent. Mirand signed a five-year contract worth $170,000 per year.
“We are confident she is the person to lead us in the continuation as we set our goals and our sights on being a premier school district by the year 2020,” said Board President Bob Dana.
The appointment ends a search process that began in January when current Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro announced he would retire July 31 after seven years in that role.
“She is extremely enthusiastic about the district and I think that enthusiasm is genuine,” said Mondanaro, who during his tenure instituted strong financial planning by creating the district’s first five-year and capital improvement plans.
Mirand, who was selected from three finalists, moves to a district with a shrinking enrollment of about 7,200 students and a proposed budget of $151.8 that voters will decide on today. Mount Morris in Livingston County has an enrollment of about 500 students and a $13.8 million budget.
“I think her initial challenge is going to be getting to know the size and scope of the district – all the employees and all the players,” said Dana.
“We face similar challenges in making sure we can financially sustain opportunities for kids,” said Mirand, 53, a Brooklyn native.
Mount Morris’ proposed budget for 2014-15, like Ken-Ton’s, cuts no programs, activities or staffing.
“So although the size is different, the amount of the budget is different, the issues are really common.”
Mirand also takes the helm of a district at the midway point of a reorganization project that will see it close two elementary schools and a middle school for the 2016-17 school year. Some district parents have voiced concern over the impact those closings may have on students.
“I know the administrative team has been working diligently to think of every scenario and how to troubleshoot so that there’s the least disruption in the child’s education,” she said.
Mirand is no stranger to Western New York schools. She previously worked as an elementary school principal in Lake Shore Central School District from 2006-2011 and a teacher in the Clarence schools from 1986-2006.
She graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Early Childhood Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education. She earned her administrative certificate from Canisius College.
Mirand was joined at Monday’s special board meeting by her daughters, Caralyn and Kristen, and the girls’ father, John. Mirand said she planned on becoming a district resident.
The Ken-Ton School Board hired the Warner Center for Educational Reform to help with the search for a new superintendent.