Lockport schools sig

Lockport Board of Education

Michael Bonnewell has been named interim Lockport School District superintendent, effective Aug. 15 when he is expected to take on the duties of retiring Superintendent Michelle Bradley, who leaves in early September.

The choice was made by school board trustees along with several other personnel matters in a single vote, called block voting. Another notable position that was voted on in this manner was Amanda Bennett who was officially assigned the role of director of student services. Bennett was actually hired at another meeting in July, but was not officially given some of her responsibilities as director, such as liaison to homeless youth.

Bonnewell previously served for 10 years as the superintendent for Albion Central School District and recently worked for one day at the Lockport City School District as a substitute administrator. He had also worked as a superintendent in the Adirondacks.

The search for Bonnewell was characterized as “thoughtful” said Clark Godshall, district superintendent of Orleans/Niagara BOCES, who facilitated the search for the new interim superintendent.

“He has the requisite skills to do the job,” Godshall said and noted that the interim superintendent position is paid as a flat daily rate and does not include health insurance, a predicament that leads to few people looking for the job.

“There’ll be no changes,” Godshall continued. “The job of an interim superintendent is to maintain the organizations. He’ll keep the ship afloat and moving.”

Board of Education President Leslie Tobin said in a statement that, “Mr. Bonnewell brings a wealth of administrative experience to the position having served in multiple school districts’ leadership positions. The appointment of an interim superintendent will permit the Board of Education to conduct a thoughtful and comprehensive search process for a new superintendent of schools.”

Previous to the meeting, Tobin said that it had been stipulated during the search to candidates that this was a temporary position and no one should believe they were getting “a step up” toward a permanent post.

Tobin also noted that an interim superintendent needed to have job experience as a superintendent themselves, because they needed to know exactly what they were doing.

“When you’re hiring a permanent superintendent they don’t necessarily have to have been a superintendent, because at some point every superintendent had to have their first job,” she said. “They didn’t just magically become superintendents.”

A search for a permanent superintendent has not begun as of Wednesday.

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