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DUNKIRK SCHOOLS: Optimism comes with new leader

By all accounts, the Dunkirk City School District made an excellent choice in tapping Michael Mansfield as its new superintendent. Earlier this week, the board announced Mansfield as the new leader of a district that has faced plenty of challenges and troubles in recent years.

Mansfield, however, appears to be up to the challenge. Currently superintendent of the Bemus Point-Maple Grove district, he also has experience in the largest city school district in the county in Jamestown.

After his introduction, he appeared focus on what the school needs to do to increase its graduation rates and test scores. “We want to improve attendance,” he said. “If we get the students here and we get good attendance we can do good work with them.”

Previous Dunkirk superintendents have had positive moments. Gary Cerne accomplished a number of building projects while bringing a sense of pride to the district. Dr. James Tracy was able to boost programs that reach children at younger ages when their development is most important.

But Mansfield is correct when he notes Dunkirk schools have to do a better job of connecting with the community. That needs to be one of the priorities moving forward.

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