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Democrat Photo by Susan Monteleone

ELDRED CENTRAL SCHOOL Superintendent Candace Mazur announces her retirement while a somber Board President Robert Burrow listens at the recent school board meeting.

Eldred's Candace Mazur
Preparing to Move On

By Susan Monteleone
ELDRED — January 14, 2003 – In a move that caught much of the district by surprise, at the end of the school day January 9, Eldred Central School Superintendent Candace Mazur gathered together her Eldred Central Junior Senior High School and Mackenzie Elementary staff and faculty and simply stated, “No one is in trouble, and this really is not a big deal. I wanted you to hear it from me first and not out there or on a piece of paper.
“I am resigning from my position to spend time with my family and to move on. It is simply to retire and enjoy my family and for no other reason.”
Later that night, stillness fell over the board meeting when Board President Robert Burrow, following the agenda, came to item “6.1 Personnel and Instructional – 6.12 Approval to accept the retirement resignation of Candace Mazur, effective September 1, 2003.”
“I cannot imagine you leaving education,” he said to Mazur, who was sitting next to him. “I became a board member when you came to this district, and you have done an unbelievable job. We are going to miss you.”
High School Principal Ivan Katz added, “I have worked with eight superintendents, and I have worked with none finer. Mrs. Mazur has always been great with the staff, children, and community. You have made a positive difference, and it has been my honor to work with you.”
Mazur subsequently received a standing ovation from everyone in attendance, followed with praise from Elementary Principal Kathy Ryan.
“It has been great working with you, and I have learned so much from you,” Ryan told Mazur. “You will really be missed.”
After all comments were made and the board accepted Mazur’s resignation with regret, Mazur said, “This is a wonderful way to end my educational career. My reasons for leaving are truly personal. I just want to spend more time with my husband and family, and I thank everyone and the board for all of the support they have given me. I will never forget my time in Eldred. It is a great place to finish my career.”
The board did not discuss a replacement or a search process for Mazur, who has been with the district for five years.

Democrat File Photo by Ted Waddell

Livingston Manor Central School
Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Gray

Manor's Ken Gray
Really Ready to Retire?

By Dan Hust
LIVINGSTON MANOR — January 14, 2003 – After nearly two decades as Livingston Manor Central School’s superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Gray is retiring at the end of this school year.
The board accepted Gray’s resignation at their last board meeting in December, and Gray officially leaves the district on June 30.
“I think I’ve done all I can do at Livingston Manor,” said Gray, who was hired in 1984 as both the district’s elementary principal and superintendent. “I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more I can offer the district.”
Perhaps not, but Board President and 10-year board member Judy O’Brien Van Put pointed out that Gray has kept a steady hand on a growing district.
“I think that Livingston Manor is fortunate to have had the leadership of Dr. Gray for 19 years,” she said in an interview yesterday. “We have one of the most beautiful schools in New York State. . . . We have a very capable, competent and dedicated staff. . . . Time and time again, our test scores are high and extremely competitive. . . . We have great community support. . . . And the cooperation between Dr. Gray and the board has been excellent.”
Modestly giving credit to his staff, Gray pointed out much of the same, adding that the district has had success with an extended school day, a breakfast program for needy students, block scheduling, a new technology curriculum, and pre-K.
“I’ve only lost one budget since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think we’re solid. I think we’re the most solid institution in the county. I think other districts have used us as a model.”
He did point out a few challenges facing the district: a segment of the local community that is unsupportive of public education, the transient nature of some residents, and the growth of needed but expensive special education offerings.
Gray, a graduate of Warwick High School in Orange County, came to Manor after serving as superintendent of the Sugar Loaf Union Free School District. The 39-year educator has a doctorate in administration policy and urban education.
“Education is my life,” he said. “It’s hard for me to wake up in the morning and not think about education.”
But at 61, he’s gone as far as he can in the state school system, at least as far as retirement benefits are concerned (the cap is at 40 years).
So once his wife, who’s spent 39 years with New York University, retires in the next year or so, the Grays will move near their sons, who are practicing attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the meantime, the board continues to look for a successor. Gray has recommended High School Principal Deborah Lynker, but he is involved only as much as the board requests him to be.
“Locally, we have some excellent potentials for this position,” said Van Put, who added that BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Martin Handler is leading the search effort.
February 21 is the deadline for applications, said Van Put, and interviews are slated to begin in April, with a new superintendent to ideally begin the day after Gray leaves.
“Whoever his successor is,” said Van Put, “they’ll find a school in excellent condition.”
“I definitely will miss Livingston Manor,” added a wistful Gray. “I’m very apprehensive about leaving. . . . I feel a lot worse than I thought I would.”
But just because he’s leaving Livingston Manor doesn’t mean he’s done with education. Gray is considering a common post-retirement practice among superintendents: short stints at various jobs within public education.
“This may not be my ‘retirement,’” he said.

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