A longtime educator who has had a hand in a wide range of programs from expanding broadband access in Western New York schools to creating new career and technical programs for students will retire in July.
Donald A. Ogilvie, district superintendent of Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, announced Thursday he plans to retire “to focus on the growing list of things that have become personally important.”
Ogilvie is a liaison to the state Education Department for 19 local school districts.
“Don really has been a leader of leaders, if you will,” said Ken Slentz, the state deputy commissioner charged with overseeing the state’s prekindergarten through 12th-grade school system.
Slentz said Oglivie has served as a mentor for top educators across the state and used his role as head of Erie 1 BOCES to make connections with higher education and business to provide new opportunities for students.
“Don’s leadership has really pushed innovation within that BOCES,” Slentz said.
By law, Slentz said, the state must conduct a survey of the school districts that make up Erie 1 BOCES to determine whether it could be merged with another BOCES before Ogilivie’s position is filled.
Ogilvie, who previously served as the superintendent of Hamburg Central, has led Erie 1 BOCES for 17 years. In that role, he helped conduct 30 superintendent searches for area districts and has helped guide the expansion and renovation of several BOCES education sites.
Ogilvie said he has focused his leadership at BOCES on “gaining the enthusiastic commitment of this organization to focus on service and innovation.”
“Both of those are the lifeblood of an organization whose business is to provide shared services to school districts,” Ogilvie said.
Erie 1 BOCES also hosts the Western New York Regional Information Center, which provides education services to more than 100 school districts in seven counties in Western New York.
During Ogilvie’s time at Erie 1, the organization has created and expanded the Workforce Development Center in Cheektowaga, helped to consolidate payroll processing and other central business office services among school districts and worked with the regional information center to create a broadband network that includes roughly 100 school districts in Western New York.
“Don leaves enormous shoes to fill and he’s made a big difference in public education throughout the Western New York region,” said David O’Rourke, district superintendent for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.
Ogilvie also had a role in expanding BOCES career and technology classes to students at East and Lafayette schools in Buffalo last year.
He began his career 43 years ago as a teacher in Williamsville Central School District. He also served as a principal in Kenmore-Tonawanda and as superintendent in Southwestern Central and Chadwicks Union Free School Districts.