Tracy out as chief of city schools

Dr. James Tracy, former Dunkirk School District Superintendent.

DUNKIRK — The Dunkirk Board of Education (DBOE) saw a sudden change in the position of district superintendent at a special meeting held Thursday evening. As of Thursday evening, Dr. James Tracy is no longer Dunkirk City Schools superintendent.

Tracy was appointed superintendent in Dunkirk in May 2016 coming from Girard, Pa., where he was the chief executive officer of the Girard School District. In that position, he oversaw 270 employees, a $29 million budget and served 1,750 students. Dunkirk schools has a budget of more than $45 million.

The meeting began with business as usual, but within the first two minutes, the board introduced resolution No. 1 to “consider the employment history of a particular person, and matters leading to the removal of a particular person,” according to Clerk Julie Smith. The board then went into executive session for approximately ten minutes.

Following the first executive session, the DBOE approved the separation agreement, waiver and general release between the district and former superintendent of schools, James J. Tracy, Ed. D.

The board then went into a second executive session to “consider the employment history of a particular person, and matters leading to the appointment or employment of a particular person as interim superintendent of schools,” according to Smith.

Following an hour-long executive session, the board emerged and promptly approved the appointment of Sylvia A. Root as Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Dunkirk City School District, effective July 15. The board also approved the employment agreement between the district and Root.

In a press release from Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, Public Information Officer Jen Osborne Coy released the following information on Roots’ background in education:

“Mrs. Root has supervised and taught in the New York State public education system for more than 40 years and has extensive experience as a school leader, school superintendent and interim superintendent. She most recently has served as interim superintendent in the Jamestown Public Schools, Springville-Griffith Institute, Holland Central, Oxford Academy and Central School District, Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District and Warren County School District.”

DBOE President David Damico also spoke highly of Root in the release. “Mrs. Root is a collaborative and compassionate leader. She brings extensive experience and insight to this position,” he said. “As an interim superintendent, she is known for helping districts make smooth transitions between past and future superintendents.”

Damico went on to say, “She has extensive experience working in school districts across the state and has a record of successful leadership as both an interim leader and as a school superintendent. Mrs. Root is looking forward to engaging stakeholders from throughout the school community as our interim superintendent of schools.”

After a brief appearance to sign several forms, Root then introduced herself to the room. “I have been an interim in six different districts and before that I was a retired superintendent for the Potsdam Central School District.”

She went on to say, “I have always enjoyed being a superintendent, even in my retirement. This is always a great opportunity and I look forward to meeting all of you, the community, students and working together.”

Little else was mentioned of Tracy’s departure, save for one comment. “The Board appreciates Dr. Tracy’s service to the District, and we wish him the well in the future.” Mr. Damico noted in the press release.