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Ken-Ton board OKs 5-year contract for school superintendent

United in the belief that he has met and exceeded expectations, the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board approved a new contract Tuesday night for School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro.

With board member Thomas J. Noonan absent, the board voted, 4-0, in favor of a five-year pact, which runs through 2013. Mondanaro will be paid $171,600 a year, retroactive to this past summer.

"You are an excellent fit for this community," School Board President Melissa Brinson told Mondanaro. "In particular, we share very, very similar values -- not just in terms of education, but families and human beings."

Mondanaro was hired in the summer of 2007 on a three-year contract paying $165,000 annually.
He came to this area from Central New York, where he worked for 18 years as an administrator in a total of three districts. He also has more than a decade of teaching experience, primarily in middle and high school English.

After thanking the School Board, faculty and staff for their support, Mondanaro added: "I'm just a team member."

During the public comment period at Tuesday's meeting, a request to formally name an athletic complex for a World War I veteran was resurrected by members of the veterans group bearing his name.

John Fitch, a past commander of Harry E. Crosby Post 2472, Veterans of Foreign Wars, said veterans would like to see Crosby memorialized at the athletic complex that's home to the Kenmore West Blue Devils football team. The organization offered to foot the bill to erect a large sign along Colvin Boulevard, a major thoroughfare at the field's eastern end.

Bordered by Crosby Avenue to the south, some believe that Crosby Field is more of a geographical nickname rather than a tribute to the Kenmore resident and National Guard lieutenant who was killed in action during World War I.

The subject has been before the School Board repeatedly since late last year, when a group of former athletes requested that the field be renamed forr someone connected with the history of Kenmore West's football program. The alumni and veterans eventually reached a compromise: keep Crosby as the complex name and dedicate the football field to Jules Yakapovich, a legendary football coach at Ken West.

In March, the School Board decided not to take any action on the issue.

Fitch said his group would like to dedicate the sign Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day. But the School Board's next regular meeting isn't until Nov. 18; the proposal didn't appear on Tuesday's agenda.


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