Dear Tonawanda City Schools Students, Parents, Staff, and Residents:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to serve as superintendent of our great city school district. As most of you are aware, I have been employed in the district for 14 years as a secondary principal. I replaced the legendary Mr. Richard Catlin.
A smooth transition is essential to ensure the superintendent is a successful district leader. Building trust, accumulating situational awareness, and ongoing communication are fundamental to creating a community that supports the school district. I will continue to generate a strong community presence as well as assess the district’s strengths and identify critical issues. I will review and establish priorities and focus on achieving short-term goals and develop long-term goals.
My vision as superintendent will be to build on the HOPES of the Superintendent Search Advisory Committees. These committees represented all stakeholders and included a student representative. When interviewed, the committees asked me what I would do for the district. I told them that as the new superintendent, I would be a positive leader who continually promotes our district’s assets and builds a positive morale with all stakeholders. Shared Decision Making is essential, especially when major decisions are made. Student achievement is the highest priority.
Schools are here to educate students; therefore, all decisions must be made by closely examining student needs. There are many monetary increases that are beyond the district’s control such as retirement system, insurance, and salaries. While understanding that reductions will need to be made, we will need to look at other areas to cut spending prior to reducing teachers and program. Of course, class sizes, staffing and program will be analyzed to determine what is best instructionally for our students.
Shared services need to be pursued and used to the greatest feasible extent. Operational consolidation should be examined in the areas of central office, support services, special education programs, and joint purchasing. I will also work with the Tonawanda City Council to look for ways to share services with them.
The Capital Project has recently been approved by the State Education Department. Bids are being sent out and construction of the music wing and the new Clinton H. Small Stadium will begin in March. The stadium should be completed by the start of the 2013-14 school year.
I am hopeful that the Board of Education and I will develop a high level of trust and maintain a respectful working relationship. The search advisory committee, as well as the community, expects us to be professional and courteous to one another.
I am looking forward to serving as the Tonawanda City School District Superintendent. I will do my best to keep communication ongoing within the community. As a building principal, I have always had an open door policy; I will continue this practice. Feel free to contact me with any concerns, questions, or comments. We need to work together to create a climate where all students feel safe, student achievement increases, and we continue to offer a quality education within the confines of our budget.
Thank you once again for supporting me as the Tonawanda City School District Superintendent.
James P. Newton, Ed.D.