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West Seneca hires former Tonawanda superintendent as interim

The West Seneca School Board Tuesday night hired former Tonawanda Superintendent Whitney K. Vantine to serve as interim superintendent.

Vantine will start May 1, after Superintendent Mark Crawford retires April 28. Crawford, who had announced his retirement last November, attended his last board meeting Tuesday night.

The School Board had intended to hire a permanent superintendent, but changed direction early this year after residents and staff asked for more community input.

"Dr. Vantine's interview went well with us," Board President Kate Newton said. "He was the unanimous choice."

Vantine said his contract extends to June 30, 2018. He said he will be paid on a per diem rate, and referred questions on the rate to the board president. Newton refused to say Tuesday night what the rate is, "saying it wouldn't be fair." She said it could be requested from the district clerk's office.

Vantine, who retired from Tonawanda in 2012, is an experienced superintendent, heading districts for 22 years during his 35-year career in education. He was superintendent at Friendship, Union Springs, Lewiston-Porter, Cold Spring Harbor and Tonawanda. He also was an education consultant at Wendel, and was an interim superintendent at Forestville.

He said he will try to understand as quickly as he can what the issues are in the district.

"It will take me a little bit of time to get to know people, to get to know the players, to get to know the issues," he said. "I come in with no bias."

He said his job as interim superintendent is to try continue to steer the district forward.

Newton said during the meeting that it was a bittersweet night, because Crawford is retiring. He thanked the board, staff and community.

"Thank you to so many of you for a great seven years," Crawford said.

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