Dunkirk appoints new school chief

Michael Mansfield leaving Bemus Point to take position

Michael E. Mansfield

The Dunkirk School District has a new superintendent.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting the board appointed Michael E. Mansfield to the position. Mansfield will take the helm on April 20, allowing Interim Superintendent Sylvia Root to step back.

“I’m excited that he was hired,” Root said. “I’ve known him for a few years as a superintendent in Bemus Point. He’s very good.”

Mansfield, a life-long Chautauqua County resident, started his administrative career in Jamestown Public Schools, where he was an assistant superintendent at the high school for two years. Then once the principalship opened up at Milton J. Fletcher Elementary, he moved over to there.

“I’ve always said that four years that I spent in Jamestown as a new administrator was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Mansfield told the OBSERVER after the meeting. “It was hard work and I learned a lot.”

Currently, Mansfield is in his seventh year as superintendent for Bemus Point.

“I’m very honored that they selected me out of this very arduous process that they went through,” Mansfield said. “They did a statewide search, narrowed it down, then had interviews with the board, committees from parents and the community, administration, teaching staff and support staff. So I had a real opportunity to learn what Dunkirk is looking for in the next superintendent. I think it’s a great fit with my experience through Jamestown Public Schools and then Bemus Point and now here of what they want from their superintendent and then what I can bring to the job.”

When asked about his goals in the city, Mansfield laid out that the district already has a strategic plan in place centered on curriculum goals and student achievement, but is hoping to fine tune that.

“We want to improve attendance,” he started. “If we get the students here and we get good attendance we can do good work with them.”

Family and community involvement is also important to Mansfield.

“Overall goal for any district is to give every student the opportunity to reach their potential and to be ready when they leave to contribute,” Mansfield continued. “I’ll be working with the board and the administration to refine those goals and how we get to that for every student.”

Mansfield stated that doing all of this helps the community as a whole too. He cited that if students have a positive experience in the school district, they are more apt to stay and have their family here.

“We know in this region our manufacturing and our businesses are all very concerned about workforce,” Mansfield said. “We have an aging workforce and they need people to come in and take those jobs eventually. If we can prepare our students to do that, we continue to help our economy grow and thrive. The overall picture is to prepare students, all of them.”

Amidst this, the board of education approved the resignation, agreement waiver and general lease between the district and the assistant superintendent Theresa Grey. The district and Grey reached an amicable consensus that her roll as assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction and assessment is no longer suitable for the district’s ongoing future needs and obligations to its students. Grey’s contract was set to expire in June of 2020 but the early conclusion will allow the district to freely pursue other options.


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