ELLERY-The incoming superintendent of the Bemus Point Central School District has a battle plan in place for when he takes over next month.
Michael Mansfield is currently working alongside outgoing superintendent, Jacqueline Latshaw, in a one-month transition phase prior to his Sept. 1 start date.
Mansfield has spent the last two years as principal of Bemus Point Elementary School. As part of his interview with the board of education, Mansfield prepared and presented an entry plan for the district. The plan focuses on the 60-day and four-month marks after his start date.
"The first 60 days really talked about building on the foundation of the knowledge and experience I already had with the district, and looking at establishing effective communication with the board, families, faculty and staff," said Mansfield. "There's a capital project that we need, and we need to get information about that out to the public to get their feedback. We're working hard on getting our technology up to date because we're coming from behind on that. We did a lot of safety assessments last year, but we still have some areas that we really need to nail down and improve upon."
He added: "The big one, as a community and district, is to define what college and career readiness means for us-how we measure it, and how well we're doing it."
Mansfield said the four-month mark will be defined by copious amounts of data collection and analysis on how the district is doing academically.
"We want to put in place some survey-type tools to really get input from our graduates, as well as from the community, in terms of how well we're doing in preparing students. We've found there are a lot of areas where we really need to listen to what people are saying and understand (them)," he said, in reference to the resistance the district received from the community when the 2013-14 budget was presented. "We need to reach out to them and see what's happening there, and so we really need a process of doing that."
Additionally, the entry plan lists the primary factor in the path forward as "communications." In his plan, Mansfield said he wants to establish clear pathways for communication, and communicate them to faculty, students, parents and community members. He listed several avenues for improvement in order to do so, including: improving electronic media, such as the district website, social media and e-Alert; the district newsletter, which will be strategically placed in local businesses, banks and the post office; supporting the PTA by having administration and staff present at meetings and events; hosting Board of Education presentations and discussions; hosting parent presentations and discussions; and hosting community presentations offsite and at times which are accessible to the community.
By the time these components of the entry plan have been implemented, or at least addressed, Mansfield said it would be the middle of winter-a time to begin the budget-building process and look at constructing a three- to five-year plan for the district.
A 1980 graduate from Pine Valley Central School, Mansfield brings nearly three decades of professional experience into his new position with Bemus Point. From an educational standpoint, he has worked at Pine Valley as a school counselor and coach of varsity of softball and basketball, and Jamestown Public Schools as a high school principal from 2007-09 and principal at Fletcher Elementary School from 2009-11. He also received his counseling certification from St. Bonaventure University.
Prior to becoming an educator, Mansfield worked for 10 years in software development in areas such as robotics, machine controls and real-time data collection. According to Mansfield, his final job in this field was with Cummins.
"(Cummins) is an outstanding place to work, but I just didn't feel fulfilled with it," he said.
It was then, Mansfield said, that he made the personal decision to pursue a career in education.
"I felt like I was ready to go back and work with children," Mansfield said. "(I thought), 'Now I have something to offer with some of my background.'"
Mansfield said he is currently working with the technology department at Bemus Point to get his entry plan posted on the district website at www.bemusptcsd.org.