Within the next two weeks, 34 Catholic schools in the Buffalo Diocese can expect a big change in leadership as a new superintendent will be stepping in.
As of June 29, Michael LaFever will be the new superintendent of elementary schools, replacing Sister Carol Cimino, who held that job for five years.
LaFever has an extensive background in education and growing enrollment. He has been principal and president of St. Benedict School in Eggertsville for the last three years. In his time there, there was an increase in enrollment of more than 50 percent, according to a diocese announcement. Other Catholic schools have faced substantial enrollment declines.
"I am confident that Mike brings with him the skills, values and experience necessary to take on this critical leadership role," said Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone.
LaFever said he hopes to maintain sustainability and affordability in Catholic schools. He said the cause of enrollment decreases is a demographic issue. When asked about his plans to increase enrollment, LaFever mentioned "strengthening our bonds with parishes that have schools" in an effort to uphold a communal environment for the diocese.
During his career, LaFever spent eight years at Trocaire College as the dean of program development and enrollment management; was superintendent at South Country Central School District in East Patchogue and Ellicottville Central Schools; director of curriculum, instruction and staff development for the Tonawanda City School District; director of tech prep for Niagara County Community College; and worked as an adjunct faculty member at Buffalo State College.
A Western New York native, LaFever earned his doctorate in organizational leadership from the State University of New York at Buffalo along with a master's in educational administration from St. Bonaventure University and both bachelor's and master's in elementary education from Buffalo State College.