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Holland district's reconfiguration to proceed without key principals

The consecutive departures of three school officials could leave the Holland school district without any of the veteran principals that helped plan the district's reconfiguration process scheduled for the coming school year.

Elementary Principal Jeffrey Mochrie notified the district last week that he is departing for a similar position in the Cheektowaga-Sloan district, while High School Principal Jim Biryla announced his retirement several days ago following 32 years of service in Holland, 15 of those as principal.

In addition, Middle School Principal Eric Lawton recently accepted a post in another district after his position was eliminated by the School Board as part of a plan to consolidate buildings.

Following the announcement at the Monday's School Board meeting, Superintendent Dennis Johnson put a brave face on the administrative drain.

"We'll meet the challenge. We have a good group leadership team. In schools, departures are a natural flow," he said.

While Mochrie's resignation is effective at the end of this week, Biryla's has not given a departure date and Johnson said it has been left open to negotiation.

The superintendent said he will discuss with the board "how to fill the position," noting that Mochrie's position already has been posted in several newspapers, with an application deadline of July 17.

Board members unanimously affirmed that they would like to interview the finalists.

In other matters, the board approved, 5-2, a reconfiguration plan that calls for the H.O. Brumsted Elementary School to remain open for students in grades kindergarten through sixth and for universal pre-kindergarten.

It put a halt to reconstruction plans at the middle school, which now will house the business, special-education and district offices.

The resolution was a reversal of plans that originally called for the elementary school to close and the middle school to be the primary building to house grades K-6.

Stephen Welk and Kelleen Kensey opposed the change, which will be effective for the 2012-13 school year only or until a more permanent plan is approved.