Tim Mains, the Jamestown Public School District's new superintendent, makes quite a first impression.
Members of the community panels who interviewed Mains over the past six weeks told board members they unanimously back Mains' hiring.
"During the interview, it became apparent to us that, despite the fact that (Mains) has not held the position of superintendent previously, his long history and body of work, both in and out of education, more than prepared him for this appointment," said Chris Reilly, Jamestown Teachers Association president. "What impressed us most was the fact that Superintendent Mains really did his homework when it came to understanding not just JPS, but the community as a whole."
Mains hasn't just said the right things, however. He has an impressive background as well.
Mains began his career in public education as a high school social studies teacher with the Greece Central School District in 1971, also serving as a school counselor, teacher center director, staff development director, kindergarten through 12th grade social studies director, elementary school principal and, most recently, director of internal school operations at the Rochester City School District. Additionally, he spent 20 years on the Rochester City Council, including 12 years as finance chair, a position that gave Mains a role in crafting and approving the Rochester City School District budget.
Mains is a realist who comes to Jamestown with a firm grasp of school funding issues, budgets and an exciting vision of how Jamestown can work within the Common Core State Standards and the state's teacher evaluation system. For Mains, education means more than educating children. Teachers and administrators must also be learning every day so they can meet the needs of each child in the district. Mains said he wants to keep education in Jamestown affordable while, at the same time, preserving the district's breadth of academic and extra-curricular activities.
Mains also isn't shying away from the district's challenges. State funding, which Jamestown relies on for nearly 75 percent of its revenue, is always unpredictable. Poverty will always be an issue for many children in the district. And, over the years the district has had issues getting non-English speakers and students with special needs to meet state standards. Mains told The Post-Journal he wants to design a way to measure student performance so the district can better discern how underperforming students are progressing. It is information the state doesn't provide, and Mains wants to be able to show parents and community members that the school is improving on areas of weakness.
"One of the things that's important to me is (being in) a district where there are kids that face some challenges. And the poverty level of Jamestown's schools is, frankly, attractive to me," Mains said.
Jamestown residents have been lucky for the 14 years to have their school district in the steady hands of Ray Fashano and then Deke Kathman. Mains appears to be a worthy successor to that lineage.
Jamestown residents should be excited about the district's hiring.