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Former Putnam County school administrator Diana D. Greene has been named superintendent of the Tonawanda city schools, effective Feb. 2.

The School Board, at a special meeting Monday night, approved a 2 1/2 -year contract with Ms. Greene that ends June 30, 2000. However, the agreement includes the possibility of one-year extensions during the life of the contract.

Ms. Greene will replace James C. Holler, who is retiring after four years as superintendent and 40 in the district. But School Board President Michele Benns said Holler will stay on the job for at least the first week of Ms. Greene's employment to assist with the transition.

Ms. Greene's salary for the 12-month period beginning Feb. 2 will be $88,000. She also will receive up to $4,500 a year to purchase health insurance. The allotment can increase by up to 5 percent a year but will only be paid if it is proved that the premium has increased. Ms. Greene also will receive $500 a year to defray the cost of life insurance.

Other terms of the contract stipulate that Ms. Greene will take up residence in the district no later than June 1. The board will pay her a lump sum of $4,500 to cover all relocation expenses, including temporary housing costs.

Ms. Greene, now a resident of New Windsor, a Putnam County community north of New York City, said she will initially obtain rental housing within the City of Tonawanda. She is married and has grown children.

A former superintendent of the Haldane Central Schools in Cold Spring and the Keene Central Schools in Keene Valley, Ms. Greene also was director of curriculum and staff development in the Honeoye Schools near Rochester and an elementary teacher in Albion.

She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Oswego State College and a master's degree from Brockport State College.

In a statement released earlier this month, Ms. Greene noted that she spent much of her adult life in Western New York and has maintained friendships and professional associations in the area. She is a Buffalo Bills fan.

Ms. Greene, who was at Monday's meeting, told The Buffalo News that she is excited about the appointment and looks forward to heading the Tonawanda Schools. "It's a very positive community and a great school district," she said.

Asked about concerns -- expressed by a member of a citizens' superintendent screening committee -- that she has averaged less than two years at her previous superintendent posts, Ms. Greene said, "It's really about finding the right match."

"We want to find a person who matches (the Tonawanda) district," said Vice President Dennis Atkinson.

He dismissed Ms. Greene's philosophical differences with the Haldane board, which led to a buyout of her contract, noting that "it's a different temperament."

Ms. Greene said her departure from the 200-student Keene district was made in the interests of moving to the larger, 800-student Haldane schools. About 2,600 students are enrolled in the Tonawanda schools.

Trustees said Ms. Greene will be introduced to the community at a reception tentatively scheduled for Jan. 14 and will likely be present at the Jan. 15 School Board meeting.

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