After 35 years as an educator, all of it spent in the West Seneca School District, School Superintendent James K. Brotz will retire at the end of the year.
"It's always with mixed emotions," Brotz said Tuesday about making the decision to retire. "It's a good time for me. It feels right."
A West Seneca native and lifelong resident, Brotz began his career in education as a substitute teacher in 1973, before going on to serve as a physical education teacher, coach, guidance counselor and assistant principal. Even his student teaching was in the West Seneca School District, he said. He was the principal at West Seneca West Senior High School for more than 10 years before being named superintendent in 2002.
School Board President James Asztalos, who has worked with Brotz for the past 14 years on the School Board, said that Brotz will be hard to replace.
"He's just a great guy and a good colleague," he said. "We're going to miss him. There's not a better team builder than James Brotz."
"I'm so proud we have a superintendent like Jim," Asztalos said. "Jim's been just a great leader."
His decision creates a familiar problem for a local school district; several school superintendents in Erie County recently have resigned or retired, with Frontier, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda and Lancaster still without superintendents.
The West Seneca School Board will be discussing Brotz's replacement in the next couple of weeks. Because he wanted to get the new school year off to a good start, Brotz will wait to retire until December.
Asked about his plans, Brotz said he didn't have anything definite yet.
"I'm not a guy who's going to sit around," he said. "I'm going to do a little fishing and a little work."
The West Seneca School District serves portions of the towns of West Seneca, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park and Hamburg.